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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Wall Street pushes further higher

Wall Street pushes further higher

PARIS: Global stock markets rallied Monday, with Wall Street pushing higher after a record finish at the end of last week.

Both the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped to fresh records on Friday after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said there was no sign of an overheating economy and policymakers expected to continue gradual interest rate increases.

The indices kept rising at the opening bell, with the S&P 500 adding 0.4 percent and the Nasdaq Composite rising 0.5 percent. The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average also rose half a percentage point.

“The positive bias is rooted in carryover momentum and some seemingly constructive headlines pertaining to trade matters,” said analyst Patrick O’Hare at Briefing.com, pointing to reports that the United States and Mexico are close to agreement on how to reform NAFTA.

He also said investors were taking the Chinese yuan’s strengthening to a four-week high against the dollar “as an encouraging sign that China isn’t deliberately weakening its currency to mitigate the impact of a trade war.”

In Europe, trading was thin with London closed for a public holiday.

Share prices in Frankfurt were up by 0.7 percent after a widely watched survey showed business confidence in the German economy bouncing back as US trade war fears ease.

French stock prices were also up, by 0.6 percent.

The bank holiday in London was “keeping trading in Europe pretty thin,” said London Capital Group analyst, Jasper Lawler.

– Trump’s political turmoil –

Lawler said that the political turmoil engulfing Donald Trump and his advisers “seems to have done little to dampen market spirits.”

But FXTM market strategist, Hussein Sayed, suggested that as speculation that the US president might be impeached grows, “investors who believe that Trump policies were the key attributes to the recent stocks rally may start becoming worried. After all, he’s the one who sets the path for fiscal policies.”

Nevertheless, looking at previous scandals, such as Watergate scandal which led to the resignation of Richard Nixon in 1974, “investors don’t really care who the president is,” Sayed said.

“It’s economic growth, fiscal policies, monetary policies, and earnings growth that matter. The current political turmoil won’t affect economic expansion or employment. US corporates continue to benefit from tax cuts and got the wanted deregulation,” the expert said.

In Germany, the widely-watched Ifo barometer of business confidence rose to its highest level since February as concerns about a trade war between the US and the EU were put on the back burner.

“Today’s Ifo index strongly suggests that the growth party will continue,” said ING economist Carsten Brzeski.

In Asia, Tokyo ended 0.9 percent higher, Hong Kong jumped more than two percent, Shanghai added 1.9 percent and Singapore put on 0.7 percent. Seoul gained 0.3 percent and Sydney added 0.4 percent while there were also gains in Wellington, Taipei and Jakarta.

In forex trading, the dollar was mixed, but OANDA trader Stephen Innes said that the euro could begin to face headwinds as a result of tensions between Italy’s populist government and the EU over Rome’s refusal to take refugees rescued from the Mediterranean.

– Key figures around 1330 GMT –

New York – Dow Jones: UP 0.5 percent at 25,926.68  points

London – FTSE 100: Closed for holiday

Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.7 percent at 12,486.07

Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.6 percent at 5,467.41

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.5 percent 3,445.35

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.9 percent at 22,799.64 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 2.2 percent at 28,271.27 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: UP 1.9 percent at 2,780.90 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1645 from $1.1623 at 2040 GMT Friday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2884 from $1.2847

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 111.00 yen from 111.21 yen

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP 11 cents at $68.83 per barrel

Oil – Brent Crude: UP 21 cents at $76.03 per barrel

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Press), 2018

Source: Brecorder

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