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Wall Street rallies on easing Russia tensions; bonds also gain


NEW YORK - Wall Street rallied on Friday after Russia said it ended military drills near Ukraine, easing investor nervousness about tensions in the region, but bond yields fell in key markets worldwide after U.S. President Barack Obama authorized air strikes in Iraq.

U.S. equities extended gains in late trading, with major indexes hitting session highs. Russia's Defense Ministrysaid it had finished military exercises in southern Russia, which the United States had criticized.

"The active saber-rattling is probably over but the threat is still there and yet we’ve chosen to overlook this," saidKim Forrest, senior equity research analyst, Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.

"The equity people definitely see the glass half full and the bond people see it half empty, and that is what we are seeing today is that fundamental split between the basic natures of the traders."

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 135.54 points or 0.83 percent, to 16,503.81, the S&P 500 gained 16.68 points or 0.87 percent, to 1,926.25 and the Nasdaq Composite added 30.01 points or 0.69 percent, to 4,364.98.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was up 3/32, the yield at 2.424 percent. Air strikes inIraq earlier drove U.S. yields to the lowest level since June 2013 and Germany's 10-year Bund fell to another record low, closing in on 1 percent.

Obama said in an address that he authorized "targeted" strikes to protect the besieged Yazidi minority and U.S. personnel in Iraq. Hours after his statements, U.S. military aircraft bombed Islamic State artillery attacking Kurdish forces near ArbilIraq.

Equity markets rebounded from earlier losses, with the MSCI All World Index up 0.2 percent.

A broad index of European stocks ended down 0.7 percent and Germany's DAX Index lost 0.3 percent, but was off the day's worst levels.

The intensifying risks in one of the world's big oil-producing countries jolted petroleum markets, at one point sending U.S. crude up more than $1 to $98.45 a barrel and Brent to $106.39.

But oil prices trimmed gains. U.S. crude settled up 31 cents to $97.65, while Brent turned lower to settle down 42 cents at $105.02 as analysts said the strikes may lower the risk of supply disruptions. [O/R]

Fighting also resumed in Gaza between Palestinian militants and Israel.

The dollar was off its lows but remained 0.2 percent down having hit two-week low of 101.49 against the safe-haven Japanese yen.