Wall St extends global stocks rally; dollar up

August 19, 2014

New York  (Aug 19)  Global stock markets rose on Tuesday as investors turned bolder on signs the Ukraine crisis was easing and monetary policy appeared likely to remain accommodative.

The dollar climbed smartly as the euro sank to a nine-month low against the dollar. U.S. Treasuries yields fell.

Bolstered by strong profits from retailer Home Depot and improved U.S. housing and economic data, Wall Street gained as equities worldwide traded near multi-year highs despite the past month's jitters over conflicts in Ukraine, Iraq and Gaza.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 57.5 points, or 0.34 percent, to 16,896.24, the S&P 500 gained 6.67 points, or 0.34 percent, to 1,978.41 and the Nasdaq Composite added 9.65 points, or 0.21 percent, to 4,517.96.

The MSCI All Country Index was up 0.35 percent at 427.89.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.55 percent, led by gains in Germany, where the blue-chip DAX index was up 1 percent.

Traders were keeping a wary watch on economic data and central banker comments for indications of interest rate moves after years of rock-bottom benchmark borrowing rates.

"The situation in Ukraine is still very tense, but slowly investors are getting used to it and turning their focus back on the macro and micro data, and earnings have been quite good," said Arnaud Scarpaci, fund manager at Montaigne Capital.

The dollar rallied, benefiting from U.S. economic data and the euro zone's current account surplus in June. The euro dipped to a nine-month low of $1.3314. The U.S. dollar index rose 0.33 percent to a high last seen nearly a year ago.

U.S. housing starts rebounded strongly in July, pointing to economic momentum, according to U.S. officials. Groundbreaking surged 15.7 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted 1.09 million annual unit pace, after two straight months of declines.

Separately, the Labor Department said its U.S. Consumer Price Index edged up 0.1 percent last month as declining energy costs partially offset increases in food and rents. The CPI had increased 0.3 percent in June.

The benign inflation data gave Treasuries prices a boost that then petered out and left prices mostly unchanged in late-morning New York trade. The bellwether 10-year note was flat and yielding 2.387 percent.

German 10-year bund yields were hovering near 1.0 percent, just above record lows hit at the end of last week, while yields on lower-rated bonds dipped.

U.S. crude oil and Brent crude futures were down. Brent was near 14-month lows at $101.48, off 12 cents. U.S. crude was last at $96.03, down 38 cents.

Source:  Reuters

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