GLOBAL MARKETS-Dollar strengthens after data, Yellen eyed

miércoles 2 de diciembre de 2015 12:31 GYT

* European stocks near 3-month high, euro near 7-1/2 month low

* Eurozone inflation bolsters ECB easing bets

* Brent slips for fifth day ahead of Friday OPEC meeting

* Fed's Lockhart says "compelling" case to raise U.S. rates (Adds U.S. market open; changes dateline; previous LONDON)

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Dec 2 (Reuters) - The dollar hit an 8-1/2 month high on Wednesday as economic data supported a rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve in December, while U.S. stocks were little changed as investors awaited comments from Fed Chair Janet Yellen.

European stocks hovered at a 3-1/2 month high and the euro was just above a 7-1/2-month low as euro zone inflation remained barely visible and kept expectations intact the European Central Bank will engage in more stimulus after its meeting on Thursday.

U.S. private employers boosted hiring in November. The ADP National Employment Report showed private payrolls increased 217,000 last month while a separate report showed nonfarm productivity grew at a faster pace than previously thought in the third quarter.

"We had some economic data which supports a rate hike in December," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.   Continuación...