Saturday 20 January 2018

Dow Jones and S&P hit record highs

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)

US stock markets reached record levels yesterday in early trading before eventually easing back.

The S&P500 was up to 2,156.45 while the Dow Jones hit 18,390.16. The S&P exceeded the record set back in May 2015. Energy stocks led the way with the improving growth outlook in the US also spurring trades. Ten-year US treasury bonds declined to 1.46.

Strong US jobs growth reported late last week has acted as a catalyst for improved sentiment across the Atlantic, while the reduction of uncertainty in the UK political arena acted as a spur. Theresa May's appointment as UK prime minister has eased some of the uncertainty which has engulfed the Tory party since the Brexit vote.

Stocks were also boosted by Shinzo Abe's election victory in Japan. Abe has announced he will introduce new fiscal stimulus levels in a bid to boost growth. The Nikkei was up 135 points to 16,231.

In Ireland, the ISEQ Index of Irish shares was up 0.9pc to 5804.46. Shares in AIB continued their recent rally, adding 6.25pc. Permanent TSB saw gains of 2.34pc, trading at €1.88.

Ryanair shares suffered slightly - the airline's stocks were down 0.95pc at €11.50 per share. Shipping firm Irish Continental Group saw gains of 4.72pc. Shares in Independent News and Media lost 1.46pc. Shares in betting giant Paddy Power rose by 1.42 pc to €102.00. Kingspan group gained 305 points, rising by 1.52pc.

Oil and gas exploration firm Providence Resources fell by 2pc while packaging giant Smurfit Kappa earned 1.65pc to bring the share price to 20.33.

Yields on 10-year Irish bonds reached record lows, falling to 0.4380 with investors unperturbed by this week's outlandish GDP figures released on Tuesday.

In Germany, the DAX was flat at 9968 while in France the CAC rose 0.48pc. The Eurostoxx50 Index was up 0.23, while in London the FTSE100 Index of leading shares was up 0.45pc. The index has remained robust in the face of the political and economic uncertainty which has engulfed the UK in recent weeks.

Stocks on the FTSE 100 have limited exposure to the UK market due to their overall global standing.

On the currency markets, the dollar was trading at $1.32 against the pound, while the euro was worth £0.83 pence sterling.

On the commodities markets, crude oil lost 3.5pc after the International Energy Agency said that a possible supply glut risked a price recovery.

Investors sold off over additional concerns that US inventories are set to rise.

Gold was at trading at $1338 an ounce.

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