Business World

Sunday 18 February 2018

Europe lags as global stocks hit record

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

Reuters

World stock markets hit fresh highs yesterday amid investor optimism over US tax reforms and global economic growth, while the dollar gained as data pointed to solid US growth.

Europe lagged, as political volatility tempered risk appetite, but stock markets gained, led by Spain.

The pan-regional FTSEurofirst 300 index rising 0.16pc to 1,535.03. The US trade deficit fell in August as exports of goods and services rose to the highest level in more than two-and-a-half years.

Separately, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week.

Gold dipped on news of the data as it bolstered the notion US interest rates would be hiked in December. Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Patrick Harker said he was still pencilling in one more rate hike this year and three in 2018.

MSCI's all-country world stock index edged higher to set a new intraday peak, while the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all set fresh highs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 41.22 points, or 0.18pc, to 22,702.86. The S&P 500 gained 5.99 points, or 0.24pc, to 2,543.73 and the Nasdaq Composite added 15.08 points, or 0.23pc, to 6,549.71.

In Dublin the Iseq was out of step with the global mood, down 0.54pc at 6,904.92.

A Reuters poll showed global stocks are expected to continue to climb over the coming year on rising optimism about growth worldwide. But a slim majority of equity strategists also expect the current eight-year bull run to end in 2018.

One factor pushing up prices is US investors conviction that reform of U.S. fiscal policy will occur by the first quarter, said Phil Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investors in New York.

Irish Independent

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