World Economy

Global Equity Markets At All-Time High

Global Equity Markets  At All-Time HighGlobal Equity Markets  At All-Time High

Global equity markets rode to new all-time highs on Friday, with positive corporate updates in Europe and a post-dotcom-boom peak for the US Nasdaq stoking investor optimism.

There were also some positive signs from previously deadlocked negotiations between Greece and its international creditors, with Athens offering concessions on some key reforms in exchange for urgently needed new funding, Reuters reported.

However, the euro retreated from a two-week high against the dollar after Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the chairman of eurozone finance ministers, said that despite commitments from all sides to strike a deal on Greece they were "still far" from conclusion.

"Our baseline remains that the status quo position – more weary can-kicking – is most likely to prevail," said Lucy O'Carroll, chief economist at Aberdeen Asset Management.

The MSCI All-Country World index hit a lifetime high of 441.1 points, extending a multi-year rally driven by plentiful central bank cash and the global economy's recovery from the 2008 financial crisis. By 1104 GMT the index was trading at 440.70 points, up 0.3 percent on the day.

U.S. equity futures SPc1 were up 0.2 percent.

On Wall Street on Thursday, the Nasdaq pushed above its previous record set in March 2000, the height of the dotcom boom. Weak readings on US jobless claims, manufacturing and home sales contrasted with the shining share market performance and rekindled doubts about the timing of a US rate hike.

Investor Sentiment

Investor sentiment in Europe was boosted by positive updates from companies including Electrolux and Renault. European companies are set for a bumper earnings season on the back of a weak euro and an improved economy.

Shares of HSBC rose 3.2 percent after Europe's biggest bank said it would review whether to move its headquarters out of Britain, potentially dealing a blow to a country trying to balance tighter regulation with the importance of the financial industry to its economy.

Sentiment was also supported by a German business survey that rose by more than expected for April.

German 10-year Bund yields dipped but remained on track for one of their biggest weekly gains this year.

The prospect of a breakthrough in Greece's debt drama underpinned markets.

"We give a low probability to a default event in the coming month and expect a (tentative) deal to be struck by June, at the latest," Credit Suisse economists wrote in a note to clients.

"Greece has shown a clear resilience in recent months, given that no official cash has been disbursed to the country for the past eight months or so."

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.9 percent, after marking its highest level since January 2008.

China stocks slipped after the country's securities regulator said it would accelerate approval of initial public offerings in an apparent effort to cool the red hot market.

The CSI300 index fell 0.8 percent while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.5 percent, with both still on track for robust weekly gains. Japan's Nikkei stock index ended down 0.8 percent after hitting a 15-year peak on Thursday, but was still up 1.9 percent for the week.

Oil prices held steady near 2015 highs reached on Thursday, remaining on track for weekly gains after renewed air strikes in Yemen stoked concerns on the security of Middle East oil shipments.