Thursday, October 13, 2011

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks, euro rally on fund progress, momentum

NEW YORK: World stocks advanced for a sixth straight day on Wednesday and the euro rose against the U.S. dollar after the final nation in the euro zone reached a deal to strengthen a regional bailout fund, boosting investor confidence.

On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 stock index compiled a gain of 9.8 percent over the past seven sessions, its steepest advance since mid-March 2009.

"It feels as though the market is experiencing the possibility of a melt-up," said Hank Smith, chief investment officer of Haverford Trust Co in Philadelphia.

"A lot of people who have been afraid of some of these big, macro risks are thinking: maybe we should get back in because this has been a rough year and it would be really rough if we missed a big fourth quarter," he said.

Another market moving up was oil where Brent crude rose for a sixth session to $110.82 a barrel, extending its gain to more than 11 percent in that period.

Investor appetite for risk heightened after lawmakers in Slovakia struck a deal to ratify more powers for the euro zone's rescue fund, effectively ending for now a crisis for the euro which also weighed on equities and other risky assets.

Slovakia is the last country in the 17-member currency zone left to approve the revamped European Financial Stability Facility.

"Europeans feel very comfortable that a plan has been put in place with respect to their banks and Greece, and the EFSF is going to solve the problem for now," said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co in New York.

Investors are also looking to the European Union to announce a bank recapitalization plan designed to cushion the impact any default by Greece could have on the region's banks.

The Dow Jones industrial average added 102.55 points, or 0.90 percent, to 11,518.85. The S&P 500 was up 11.71 points, or 0.98 percent, to 1,207.25. The Nasdaq Composite rose 21.70 points, or 0.84 percent, to 2,604.73.

The euro's strong gains also were helped by data showing strong industrial output in the region during August.

The single currency rose 1.1 percent against the dollar to $1.37869. It touched a high of $1.38340 on the EBS trading platform, its strongest since Sept. 16.

The euro also rallied against the yen, up 1.9 percent, peaking at 107.04 yen.

Rising for the sixth session in a row, the MSCI world equity index gained 1.4 percent. U.S. dollar-denominated Nikkei futures gained 0.6 percent.

Government bond prices fell, with 10-year U.S. Treasury notes in a dismal auction, as fewer investors sought safe haven and appetite for risk grew. Gold also lost its safety appeal, trading around $1,679 an ounce, off its intraday high above $1,691.

U.S. bonds extended losses after the Treasury auctioned $21 billion in 10-year notes. The benchmark Treasury note fell 15/32 in price, to yield 2.22 percent, up from 2.208 percent at Tuesday's close. ' Reuters


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