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GLOBAL MARKETS-Dollar, equities gain on upbeat manufacturing data

04 Aug 2020 / 03:09 H.

    (Adds oil, gold settlement prices)

    * Shares gain as tech shines on Microsoft-TikTok talks

    * Asia ex-Japan dips, Nikkei aided by yen pullback

    * Caixin China PMI beats forecasts at 52.8

    * Gold reaches new peak, eyeing $2,000 level

    By Herbert Lash

    NEW YORK, Aug 3 (Reuters) - The dollar rallied and equity markets rose on Monday as investors welcomed upbeat manufacturing data from around the world and as Microsoft's pursuit of TikTok's U.S. operations and other deals bolstered investor sentiment.

    Gold prices retreated from a record high after some profit-taking and the dollar's strengthening, though concerns about the coronavirus' toll on the economy limited bullion's losses.

    Oil prices rose as manufacturing data from the United States, Europe and China offset over-supply fears fueled by the prospect of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies winding back output cuts.

    MSCI's benchmark for global equity markets rose 0.89% to 556.8. Europe's broad FTSEurofirst 300 index closed up 2.1% at 1,413.87, lifted by a reading of IHS Markit's final Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index for the euro zone.

    The index bounced to 51.8 in July, its first time above the 50 mark separating growth from contraction since January 2019.

    Manufacturing activity in China expanded at the fastest pace in nearly a decade as domestic demand improved, China's Caixin/Markit PMI showed, suggesting the world's second-largest economy would help cushion the pandemic's blow to world growth.

    In the United States, manufacturing activity accelerated to its highest level in nearly 1-1/2 years in July as orders increased despite a resurgence in new COVID-19 infections, the Institute for Supply Management said.

    "There's good feelings in the stock market. You're seeing that with earnings and you're seeing that with some of the PMI numbers," said Rick Meckler, partner at Cherry Lane Investments in New Vernon, New Jersey. "People were really expecting the worse. Things are bad, but not as bad as predicted."

    Wall Street's advance was driven by Microsoft, whose shares rose 5.6% after it formally declared interest in TikTok's U.S. operations on Sunday, Meckler said.

    ADT surged 61% on news that Alphabet's Google was buying a nearly 7% stake in the home security firm for $450 million in a deal that will allow it to provide service to customers of its Nest home security devices.

    "Investors are going with what what's worked for them and they've decided technology has survived what they see as the worst of the pandemic," he said.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1%, the S&P 500 gained 0.91% and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.64%.

    Of the S&P's 11 major sectors, technology was the clear leader with a gain of more than 2.6%. Apple's overtaking of Saudi Aramco on Friday to become the world's most valuable company also helped fuel the tech rally.

    The dollar gained against a basket of currencies as investors unwound some recent short positions after the currency posted its weakest monthly performance in a decade in July.

    Speculators' net shorts on the dollar are at their highest since August 2011 at $24.27 billion, Reuters calculations and U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show.

    The dollar index rose 0.151%, with the euro down 0.13% to $1.1759. The Japanese yen weakened 0.10% versus the greenback at 106.00 per dollar.

    Oil prices rose.

    Brent crude futures settled up 63 cents at $44.15 an ounce. U.S. crude futures rose 74 cents to settle at $41.01 a barrel.

    Gold closed little changed, but was poised to break through the $2,000 an ounce mark.

    U.S. gold futures settled mostly unchanged at $1,986.30 an ounce.

    Dollar bears also took some profits on crowded short positions, but further gains were likely to be capped by the slowing U.S. economic recovery and real rates breaking below -1% for the first time.

    The real rate hit a record low amid a marked flattening of the yield curve as investors wager on more accommodation from the Federal Reserve.

    Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields rose 2.2 basis points to 0.5576% after touching the lowest level since March last week.

    German government bond yields rose slightly to -0.525%.

    China's manufacturing data helped blue chips rally 1.6%, offsetting worries about U.S.-China relations.

    Japan's Nikkei added 2.2%, courtesy of a pullback in the yen.

    (Reporting by Herbert Lash; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Tom Brown)

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