GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares rise on U.S. data, safe-havens fall

Last Updated: Wed, Mar 27, 2013 05:00 hrs

* Wall Street gains on latest round of upbeat U.S. data

* U.S. oil futures rise, but Brent crude mostly flat

* Euro rises but vulnerable as Cyprus concerns persist

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK, March 26 (Reuters) - Global equity markets rose as safe-haven assets like debt and gold fell on Tuesday after more data pointed to an improving U.S. economy and helped offset any fallout from the Cyprus bailout.

Wall Street was higher on reports that showed demand for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods surged in February while U.S. single-family home prices started the year with the biggest annual increase since June 2006.

But a report from the Conference Board, an industry group, showing Americans in March turned more pessimistic about short term prospects, which caused consumer confidence to tumble and added a note of caution to a market still skittish over Cyprus.

Michael Sheldon, chief market strategist at RDM Financial in Westport, Connecticut, said investors needed to see further improvement in the economic data for equity markets to hold this year's gains.

The euro edged higher against the U.S. dollar but remained near four-month lows on lingering concerns about the negative implications of a rescue plan for Cyprus, and if it would serve as a template for other euro zone economies requiring bailouts.

"There's uncertainty in Europe as for what is the blueprint when (economies) need to be rescued," said Sheldon. "The market trend continues to be higher but investors are gun-shy in light of recent gains."

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 89.16 points, or 0.62 percent, at 14,536.91. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 7.87 points, or 0.51 percent, at 1,559.56. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 9.48 points, or 0.29 percent, at 3,244.78.

MSCI's all-country world index, which tracks 6,000 stocks in 45 countries, rose 0.33 percent to 358.97.

In Europe, the FTSEurofirst 300 of leading regional shares rose 0.27 percent to 1,189.64.

Crude oil also rose, lifted by the strong U.S. housing data, although Brent later pared some of its gains to trade near break-even.

Brent crude futures were down 2 cents at $108.15 a barrel, in the middle of the $107 to $109 range of the past two weeks.

U.S. crude gained 70 cents to $95.51 a barrel.

"Solid housing data showing rising home prices pointed to a U.S. economy that continues to rebound, helping boost U.S. crude," said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York.

The euro nudged higher against the dollar after recently hitting a four-month low, but the currency remains vulnerable to concern that investors may shun euro zone assets or withdraw money from banks in countries like Spain and Italy.

Political uncertainty in Italy and a diverging economic backdrop with the U.S. should also contain the single currencies' upside, with a bleak outlook in the euro zone starkly contrasting with an improving U.S. landscape.

The euro last traded at $1.2858, up 0.06 percent on the day, not far from Monday's low of $1.2829, its lowest since Nov. 22.

U.S. government debt and other safe-haven assets were lower. The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was down 3/32 in price to yield 1.9094 percent.

Gold, which typically benefits from economic uncertainty, pushed to a three-week high of $1,616.36 an ounce last week on worries around the Cyprus bailout but dropped to a 1-1/2 week low of $1,589.49 on Monday after the 11th-hour rescue.

Spot gold prices fell $5.64 to $1,599.20 an ounce.

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