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China deal sends shares to one-month high, ruble surges

An employee of a foreign exchange trading company looks at monitors in Tokyo October 31, 2014. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/Files

By David Gaffen

NEW YORK (Reuters) - World equity markets hit their highest level in more than a month on Monday, lifted by a deal to give global investors easier access to China's $3.9 trillion stock market and more gains in U.S. equities.

Wall Street ended higher, with the S&P 500 rising 0.3 percent to 2,038.26, a closing record, while the Dow industrials gained 0.2 percent to a new closing high of 17,613.74.

The CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX, Wall Street's favored index of anxiety, hit its lowest level since mid-September.

MSCI's All-World index, which spans 45 countries, rose 0.4 percent to hit its highest level since late September. European shares were up 0.7 percent.

"Interest rates are still low, oil prices are low and everything looks conducive to more strength between now and the end of the year," said John Kosar, director of research with Asbury Research in Chicago.

Chinese shares jumped 2.5 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index climbed almost 1 percent overnight after officials announced a Nov. 17 start date for a long-awaited tie-up that will allow global investors to buy Chinese stocks from Hong Kong. Shares in those markets were the strongest among major world markets.

In Russia, tough talk from President Vladimir Putin and a move by the central bank to abandon rules-based currency intervention sent the ruble soaring after a recent run of weakness.

The dollar index added to recent gains, reversing early losses, and was up 0.2 percent as investors continue to favor the U.S. currency over the lower-yielding units of Japan and the euro zone. The dollar index, which measures the dollar against a basket of six major currencies, rose to 87.82 and is up 12 percent since May. [FRX/]

There was no sign that recent volatility in Russia's ruble was about to let up. After dabbling with the idea last week, Russia's central bank formally abolished structured currency market interventions.

After a dramatic fall in the previous week and volatile swings of 6 percent on Friday, the ruble was last up almost 1.7 percent at 45.89 to the dollar.

U.S. Treasuries sold off modestly, with the 10-year yield rising to 2.36 percent on a 17/32 point decline in the price of the benchmark.

Oil prices initially rose on renewed political tensions in the Middle East and Ukraine. But they subsequently gave up their gains, with Brent crude off 1.5 percent at $82.70, and U.S. light crude off 1.7 percent at $77.63.

(Additional reporting by Hideyuki Sano in Tokyo; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Dan Grebler)