World stocks held near the previous day's 7-1/2 month high on Friday and crude oil rebounded, sticking with a rally in riskier markets this week due to robust economic data from both sides of the Atlantic.

U.S. shares gained on Thursday, with the S&P 500 <.SPX> closing above 1,400 for the first time since 2008, partly driven by strong regional manufacturing data.

Investors risk aversion has fallen dramatically since November mainly due to the positive impact of the two successive long-term refinancing operations of the European Central Bank, Olivier Huet, fund manager at Edmond de Rothschild, which manages a total of 12.4 billion euros, said.

Fears that a credit crunch would have disastrous effects on the economy have evaporated.

The MSCI world equity index <.MIWD00000PUS> was slightly higher on the day, while European stocks <.FTEU3> added 0.1 percent.

Emerging stocks <.MSCIEF> were steady on the day.

Brent oil rose half a percent to $123.21 a barrel. Rising tensions between Iran and the West has been fuelling an oil rally that has forced Western leaders to prepare a release of their strategic oil reserves.

Bund futures inched down 7 ticks.

The dollar <.DXY> gained 0.1 percent against a basket of major currencies, just off a two-month high set on Thursday.

The euro Was steady at $1.3074.

(Additional reporting by Atul Prakash; editing by Patrick Graham)