Global shares rise in record year-end rally, dollar slips

December 28, 2019

NEW YORK (Dec 28) - Global equity markets scaled fresh records in a year-end rally on Friday as upbeat Chinese economic data and optimism a U.S.-Sino trade deal is imminent bolstered global growth prospects, but the dollar weakened as risk appetite increased.

Wall Street opened to new all-time highs and European shares rose to a third day of record peaks this week as various equity markets remained on course for their best year since at least the global financial crisis a decade ago.

Profits at Chinese industrial firms grew at the fastest pace in eight months in November, rising 5.4% from a year earlier to 593.9 billion yuan ($84.93 billion). The gains snapped three months of decline, but broad weakness in domestic demand remains a risk for corporate earnings in 2020.

Sluggish demand and a profit-eroding trade dispute with the United States has pressured Chinese industry over the past year, though recent factory activity surveys have pointed to a nascent recovery in the sector after accelerated government stimulus measures to steady growth.

Germany’s benchmark 10-year Bund yield held steady below recent six-month highs while U.S. Treasury yields fell as the government debt found support following a sell-off that sent yields to one-month highs.

Yields have risen amid increased risk appetite driven by optimism that a Phase 1 U.S.-Sino trade pact will spur global growth and as major central banks around the world inject liquidity into the market.

The U.S. dollar slipped across the board as increased investor appetite for risk sapped the safe-haven appeal of the greenback.

MSCI’s gauge of stock performance in 49 countries gained 0.35% while the pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.17%, both setting all-time highs.

Equity markets are poised to rise further in 2020, even as high valuations pose a concern, said Rahul Shah, chief executive of Ideal Asset Management in New York.

“Considering the dynamics of the market right now we think that equity investors should be positioning for further bullish momentum in 2020,” Shah said.

“Valuations have been ticking up a little bit, but there have been many times in market history where valuations stay above average for a while,” he said.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 70.6 points, or 0.25%, to 28,691.99. The S&P 500 .SPX gained 4.49 points, or 0.14%, to 3,244.4 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 4.37 points, or 0.05%, to 9,026.76.

The S&P 500 was just shy of surpassing annual gains of 29.6% in 2013, which would provide the U.S. benchmark its best year since 1997.

Overnight in Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan jumped 0.8% to 555.39, a level not seen since mid-2018. It is up 15.5% so far this year.

Emerging market stocks rose 0.66%.

The euro rose to a 10-day high. The dollar index .DXY fell 0.54%, with the euro EUR= up 0.68% to $1.1172. The Japanese yen JPY= strengthened 0.13% versus the greenback at 109.51 per dollar.

U.S. gold futures climbed to a seven-week high of $1,518.70 an ounce. Spot gold added 0.1%.

Oil prices edged down from three-month highs as investors’ optimism on economic growth was clouded by the Russian energy minister’s comments downplaying crude output cuts next year.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies including Russia, a group known as OPEC+, may consider wrapping up their oil output reduction in 2020, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said.

Brent crude slid 3 cents to $67.89 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate fell 3 cents to $61.65 a barrel.


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