Optimistic world stocks rise for a fourth consecutive day
London — World stocks rose for a fourth straight day on Friday on expectations of broad-based global growth, while the dollar headed for its worst week in five as investors awaited US inflation data.
MSCI’s world equity index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, was up 0.1% after hitting record highs on Thursday.
Earlier in Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan hit a 10-year high, up 0.3% on the day.
European shares rose to their highest level in nearly four months, helped by some well-received earnings updates. The pan-European Stoxx600 rose 0.3% and was set for its fifth straight week of gains as were world stocks.
Germany’s DAX 30 index was flat, just below the new record high hit in the previous session, while Britain’s FTSE fell 0.4% after a record close on Thursday.
"[Markets] have certainly been kind to us this year and valuations are increasingly a point of contention," said Fergus Shaw, a partner at Cerno Capital.
"But if we look bottom-up, we see broad based, modest growth supporting corporates generally."
Emerging-market stocks were buoyant too as another 0.2% rise set their latest six-year peak.
In currencies, the dollar stayed on the defensive after minutes from the last US Federal Reserve meeting showed policy makers remained divided on US inflation prospects.
The index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was 0.1% lower ahead of consumer price inflation data, due at 12.30GMT.
"The data will likely be disrupted by the hurricanes. But if inflation is picking up, that is still positive for the dollar," said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management.
New Fed chief
On top of the near-term inflation readings, investors are also looking to whom US President Donald Trump will nominate as successor to Fed chairperson Janet Yellen, whose term expires next February.
White House chief of staff John Kelly said on Thursday that Trump was "some time away" from making a decision, while another official said Trump had met Stanford University economist John Taylor of economics text book Taylor-rule fame to discuss the job.
Meanwhile, the euro was nudging higher and set for its biggest weekly rise in a month. European Central Bank policy makers broadly agreed to extend asset purchases at a lower volume at their October policy meeting with views converging on a nine-month extension, sources at the central bank said.
The pound rose to a 10-day high, boosted by a report in Germany’s Handelsblatt newspaper that the EU could offer Britain a two-year transitional Brexit deal.
The most eye-catching move, however, was from digital currency Bitcoin as it soared by as much as 7.4% after Thursday’s 13% gain, to hit a record high of $5,846. It is up more than 450% in 2017.
The chief financial officer of JPMorgan Chase said the firm was open-minded about the future potential use of digital currencies, appearing to dial back comments in September by his boss, CEO Jamie Dimon, who said bitcoin was a "fraud".
Among commodities, copper prices held firm after hitting a one-month high on Thursday as optimism over the demand outlook from major consumer China fuelled buying.
London copper futures were at $6,891 a tonne, up 0.1% on the day.
Oil prices also climbed after data showed both US crude production and inventories had declined. Crude was set for its sixth weekly rise in the last seven weeks. US crude jumped 1.5% to $51.39 a barrel. Brent crude rose $1 to $57.25 a barrel, up nearly 2% on the day.