London — World stocks consolidated gains on Wednesday after hitting a four-and-a-half month high last week as investors shrugged off reports of renewed China stimulus, while the Australian dollar took a knock from poor growth figures. Risky assets have staged a remarkable comeback in the first two months of 2019 — an index of global equities is up 16% — as concerns that monetary policy would continue tightening despite a slowing global economy has given way to optimism that major central banks will remain dovish. But despite signs of caution from the US Federal Reserve in recent weeks and expectations of a dovish European Central Bank at a meeting on Thursday, analysts say the broader underlying momentum of global economic data has struggled. "One defining characteristic of the recent market rally has been the broad lack of participation from real money funds and the broader economic cycle continuing to show a slowing trend," said Shaniel Ramjee, a multi-asset manager at Pictet Asse...

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