World stocks gain on trade, Brexit optimism, dollar slides

Published: March 16, 2019 11:05:07 | Updated: April 02, 2019 14:19:13

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A gauge of global equity markets hit a five-month high on Friday on investor optimism over US-Chinese trade talks and hopes a new Brexit vote next week will prove successful.

However, the dollar headed to its biggest weekly loss since early December.

The dollar fell broadly, dragged lower by weak US economic data that sent the euro higher and helped gold prices to rebound from below $1,300 an ounce.

The pound posted its biggest weekly gain in seven weeks, up more than 2.0 per cent for the week.

MSCI’s all-country world index, a gauge of equity performance in 47 countries, gained 0.62 per cent while the FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading European shares closed up 0.73 per cent as all major bourses in Europe rose, reports Reuters.

The rally pushed the S&P 500 to its best weekly gain since the end of November and the best weekly gain for the Nasdaq this year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 139.07 points, or 0.54 per cent, to 25,849.01. The S&P 500 gained 13.99 points, or 0.50 per cent, to 2,822.47 and the Nasdaq Composite added 57.62 points, or 0.76 per cent, to 7,688.53.

Fed officials are scheduled to meet next week to assess the economy and the course of US monetary policy. While no change in rates is expected, officials might take a more cautious view on the global economy after a volatile week in currency markets.

Sterling rose 0.35 per cent to $1.3285 and the dollar index fell 0.2 per cent. The euro gained 0.13 per cent to $1.1317 while the Japanese yen strengthened 0.18 per cent versus the greenback at 111.53 per dollar.

Benchmark 10-year and 2-year US Treasury yields fell to their lowest levels since early January, knocked down by the weak US economic data and the growing perception the Fed will stand pat on raising rates for the rest of the year.

The benchmark 10-year US Treasury note rose 10/32 in price to push yields down to 2.5925 per cent.

US crude futures briefly hit a 2019 high but later retreated along with benchmark Brent oil as worries about the global economy and robust US production put a brake on prices.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures settled down 9 cents at $58.52 a barrel. Brent crude futures slid 7 cents to settle at $66.16.

US gold futures settled 0.6 per cent higher at $1,302.90 an ounce.

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