* Better-than-expected housing data lift Wall Street to record Bond prices rise on Greece, Ukraine elections worries
(Adds opening of Wall Street, byline, dateline; previous LONDON) NEW YORK, May 23 (Reuters) - Global equity markets edged higher on Friday after better-than-expected U.S. housing data lifted Wall Street into record territory but yields on Treasuries fell over uncertainty about elections in Ukraine over the weekend. The benchmark S&P 500 rose above a closing record high set 10 days ago, but was still shy of an all-time intraday high above 1,900. MSCI's measure of global equity performance rose to within a whisker of levels last seen in late December 2007. But the rise was likely a precursor to selling pressure before the close when U.S. investors fret over the outcome of the Ukraine elections and a long weekend. "You had a positive data point this morning with the new home sales and the revision of the prior month, so all that's great," said Philip Orlando, chief equity market strategist at Federated Investors in New York. "But it would not surprise me if we saw some profit-taking toward the end of the day to position going into the long weekend with this Ukraine-Russia stand-off out there on the horizon," Orlando said. Sales of new U.S. single-family homes rose more than expected in April and the number of houses on the market hit a 3-1/2 year-high, further signs the sputtering housing recovery was poised to regain steam, the Commerce Department said.
MSCI's all-country world index rose 0.26 percent to 418.18, about 2.4 percent from all-time peaks set in December 2007. In Europe, the FTSEuroFirst 300 index of leading regional shares rose 0.16 percent to 1,368.47 points. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 46.54 points, or 0.28 percent, to 16,589.62. The S&P 500 gained 5.43 points, or 0.29 percent, to 1,897.92 and the Nasdaq Composite added 10.668 points, or 0.26 percent, to 4,165.011. Traders sought safe-haven bonds on the belief that elections in Greece and Ukraine could result in market volatility, including renewed worries of a Greek exit from the euro currency and the potential for greater tensions surrounding Ukraine. "European parliamentary elections and Ukraine elections are key events in the near term which could be driving people into the safety of U.S. Treasuries," said Robbert Van Batenburg, director of market strategy at Newedge USA LLC in New York. If Greece's leftist Syriza party wins, its leaders could reject the government's austerity policies and threaten to leave the euro zone, he said. If pro-separatist voters in eastern Ukraine fail to participate, it could stoke further tensions between Russia and Ukraine. U.S. government bond prices rose, with the 10-year note up 9/32, yielding 2.5213 percent. The euro fell to a three-month low of $1.3614 and a 17-month trough against the pound after soft German business sentiment stoked expectations the European Central Bank will lower interest rates next month. Concerns that Sunday's European Union election results could destabilize some euro zone governments also weighed on the euro. The euro was last $1.3630. Brent oil was supported by the crises in Ukraine and Libya as well as positive economic data in the world's top two oil consumers, the United States and China. Investors kept watch on elections in Ukraine, a main gas supply route. Brent was up 19 cents at $110.55 a barrel by 1347 GMT. The contract touched $111.04 the previous day, the highest since March 4. U.S. crude gained 64 cents to $104.38.
(Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Nick Zieminski)