GLOBAL MARKETS-US data lifts stocks, bond yields slip

* U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ), Treasury yields rise on positive U.S. data

* EU debt summit, Moody’s call on Greece weigh on markets

* Euro, oil, gold slip; dollar up vs euro, yen
(Updates with European market close)

By Alina Selyukh

NEW YORK, Dec 16 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) rose and Treasury
prices held steady on Thursday after stronger-than-expected
housing and regional factory data showed improving growth.

The euro edged lower against the dollar after European
leaders signaled markets may not have seen the last of euro
zone debt woes. In addition, Moody’s said it may cut Greece’s
credit rating, which is already rated as “junk,” if the country
did not stabilize its finances.

Yields on U.S. Treasuries spiked briefly to seven-month
highs after the U.S. data before declining. The benchmark
10-year U.S. Treasury (US10YT=RR: ) edged up 5/32 in price,
yielding 3.50 percent.

“The data turned Treasuries around and as U.S. rates backed
up, the dollar went with them,” said Brian Dolan, chief
strategist at Forex.com in Bedminster, New Jersey.

November housing starts rose slightly and weekly jobless
claims came in line with expectations, suggesting the U.S.
economic recovery is gaining traction. [ID:nN16214117]

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) gained 34.10
points, or 0.30 percent, to 11,491.57. The Standard & Poor’s
500 Index (.SPX: ) rose 5.95 points, or 0.48 percent, to
1,241.18, and the Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) increased
17.97 points, or 0.69 percent, to 2,635.19.

U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) were buoyed by package deliverer FedEx’s
bullish forecast after it reported unexpectedly strong holiday
volume despite lower-than-expected quarterly profit and
revenue. FedEx Corp (FDX.N: ) shares were up 1.8 percent in
midday trading in New York.

Although worries about the euro zone debt situation weighed
on sentiment, European equities ended higher, bolstered by
gains in food and beverage shares. FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: )
index of top European shares hovered near this week’s 26-month
highs and closed 0.4 percent higher.

The MSCI’s all-country world stock index (.MIWD00000PUS: )
edged up 0.05 percent while the Thomson Reuters global stock
index (.TRXFLDGLPU: ) slipped 0.2 percent.

“The risk of contagion continues to play on investors’
minds and that is certainly one of the biggest macro risks that
you can point to as you look towards 2011,” said Henk Potts,
equity strategist at Barclays Wealth.

“But the corporate picture still looks very bright, the
trend towards higher profits continues and public policy should
remain shareholder-friendly. The name of the game is to try and
hold onto the gains seen over the past couple of weeks.”

EURO ZONE CREDIT RISKS EYED

Government debt yields for Spain, Portugal and Italy edged
higher after bidders demanded a high premium for their cash
from Spain in its final bond auction of the year.

Spain sold 2.4 billion euros in 10-year and 15-year bonds,
in a key test of investor appetite for euro zone peripheral
debt. Moody’s said on Wednesday it may cut the country’s rating
and raised concern over its ability to manage its fiscal
affairs. [ID:nLDE6BF0Q4]

European Union leaders are at a two-day summit in Brussels
to address credit risks and sign off on a permanent fund to
stabilize struggling euro zone countries.

The euro (EUR=: ) fell 0.04 percent versus dollar to $1.3206.
The dollar (.DXY: ) was down against major currencies, losing
0.04 percent to 80.226 (.DXY: ). Against the Japanese yen (JPY=: ),
the dollar gained 0.01 percent to 84.26 yen.

Oil and gold slipped, with U.S. crude oil (CLc1: ) down 0.3
percent to $88.35 per barrel and spot gold prices (XAU=: )
shedding 0.62 percent to $1370.80.
(Additional reporting by Ellen Freilich and Leah Schnurr in
New York, Neal Armstrong, Emily Flitter, William James and Atul
Prokash in London, and Blaise Robinson in Paris; Editing by
Kenneth Barry)

GLOBAL MARKETS-US data lifts stocks, bond yields slip