World Economy

Global Stocks Hold Near 16-Month Highs

Global Stocks Hold Near 16-Month HighsGlobal Stocks Hold Near 16-Month Highs

World stocks held near 16-month highs on Friday, set for a strong weekly gain, while the euro fell further after the European Central Bank’s decision to extend its stimulus program.

The MSCI World index was up 0.2%, on track for a gain of 2.7% for the week. The index was less than 0.1% below Thursday’s peak, which was its highest level since August 2015. On Wall Street, US futures were flat, Yahoo reported.

European shares hit their highest level for 11 months, and were set for their best week since February, following the ECB’s decision to trim the size of its bond-buying program while also extending it for longer than many analysts had expected.

That dragged down two-year yields across Europe and sharply steepened the yield curve, a gift for banks that typically borrow short maturities and lend long.

European bank stocks pulled back on Friday, dropping 0.5%, but were still up nearly 10% for the week, with the sector set for its biggest weekly rise since December 2011.

One month on from November’s US presidential election, world stocks have gained nearly 4%, with Wall Street spurred to all time highs on hopes of higher growth and inflation as a result of president-elect Donald Trump’s planned fiscal stimulus.

In all, Europe’s STOXX 600 was up 0.6%. The euro dipped for a second day, after Thursday’s ECB announcement drove its biggest daily loss against the dollar since Britain’s vote to leave the European Union in June.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rival currencies, was up 0.2% on the day at 101.32, up 0.6% for the week.

The dollar was up 0.6% at 114.72 yen, moving back toward last week’s 10-month high of 114.83 yen.

Asian shares edged down on Friday but were on track for weekly gains.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 1.2% to 18,996.37 as the yen weakened against the dollar. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.5% to 3,232.88. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.3% to 5,560.60. Indexes in most Southeast Asian countries also rose but Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.4% to 22,760.98 and India’s Sensex was up 0.3% at 26,778.58.

Benchmark US crude oil rose 40 cents to $51.24 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained $1.07 in the previous session. Brent crude, the international standard, added 22 cents to $54.11 a barrel in London. It rose 89 cents on Thursday.

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