World equities markets climbed on Monday, boosted by deal activity in Europe and ongoing expectations for more stimulus from the world's major central banks.
The dollar weakened against the euro as an official of the European Central Bank cast doubts on whether the bank would take aggressive measures to boost the region's economy. Oil prices eased. Gold slipped below $1,200 an ounce.
Equities rose after Reuters reported that the People's Bank of China is ready to further ease monetary policy to head off slowing inflation, following its interest rate cut on Friday.
"The carry-over effect from China, taken with the fact that the U.S. is pretty healthy, and you have a market with a bias to trend higher," said Mike Gibbs, co-head of the equity advisory group at Raymond James in Memphis.
The MSCI world equity index rose 0.22 percent to 426.24.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is trying to clear the way for full-scale government bond buying, but he is opposed by Germany's Bundesbank, whose head is on the ECB's governing council.
Wall Street's Dow Jones and S&P 500 indexes ended at record high closings. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.04 percent at 17,817.9, the S&P 500 rose 0.29 percent to 2,069.41, and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.89 percent to 4,754.89.
Deals in the packaging sector in Switzerland, automotive parts in Korea, insurance in the United States, mobile phones in Nigeria and biopharmaceuticals in the Netherlands boosted European equities.
The euro zone Euro STOXX 50 index rose 0.6 percent to 3,211.70 points, taking its gain since the close on Thursday to 3.5 percent, the biggest two-day rise since June.
The euro added to gains against the dollar after data showed growth in the U.S. services sector fell short of forecasts. Earlier, a report indicated German business sentiment rebounded in November after six straight declines.
The euro, which traded near $1.40 in May, was last up 0.40 percent at $1.2438, while the dollar index was off 0.22 percent after nearly touching a four-and-a-half-year high.
U.S. Treasury debt prices edged higher after strong bidding at the Treasury's auction of two-year notes and demand ahead of month-end.
Oil traded in a tight range ahead of an OPEC meeting on Thursday that so far has been marked by uncertainty over whether the group would agree to a meaningful cut in output to support prices.
Brent crude was last down 84 cents at $79.52 a barrel. U.S. crude was last down 77 cents to $75.74.
Spot gold prices fell $4.43 to $1,196.91 an ounce.
(Additional reporting by Daniel Bases and Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe, Steve Orlofsky and Leslie Adler)Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun