Germany, U.S. stock indexes set fresh peaks; oil gains

NEW YORK (Reuters) – World shares climbed on Monday, with several key indexes hitting record peaks, while oil prices received a lift from OPEC comments that signaled further possible cuts in crude production.

The U.S. dollar rose against the Japanese yen but was lower against the euro and a basket of key currencies after hovering near a 10-week high.

In Europe, Spain’s blue-cap IBEX rose to its highest in a week on hopes that Catalonia would take a step back this week from a unilateral declaration of independence from Spain.

Catalonia’s secessionist leader faced increased pressure to abandon plans to declare the region independent from Spain, with France and Germany expressing support for the country’s unity.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.20 percent to close at a provisional 1,533.82, while the DAX rose 0.16 percent to close at an all-time high.

MSCI’s gauge of stock indexes in 47 markets around the globe gained 0.02 percent to set an intraday high. The Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 were little changed, though both the Dow and Nasdaq set intraday highs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 5.09 points, or 0.02 percent, to 22,768.58. The S&P 500 lost 1.53 points, or 0.06 percent, to 2,547.8 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.01 points, or 0 percent, to 6,590.19.

The three Wall Street indexes, along with the MSCI global benchmark, hit closing highs throughout last week except for Friday. The upcoming earnings season will justify the lofty valuations for U.S. stocks, analysts said.

“The relatively high valuation, where the market is trading 17 to 18 times earnings, is merited by a very low interest rate environment,” said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.

“We are not in danger yet if you keep your eye on rates.”

Earnings at S&P 500 companies are expected to have gained 4.9 percent in the third quarter, according to Thomson Reuters data, down from double-digit growth in the first two quarters of this year but still healthy.

Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said on Sunday that talks were ongoing to extend a production agreement beyond March 2018 and that more oil-producing nations may join the pact.

Brent LCOcv1 was last at $55.83 per barrel, up 0.38 percent on the day, while U.S. crude CLcv1 rose 0.65 percent to $49.61 per barrel.

The dollar index – which measures the greenback against a basket of six other major currencies – on Friday hit 94.267 .DXY, its highest since July 20 following a stronger-than-expected forecast in average hourly earnings last month.

The dollar index .DXY fell 0.15 percent, with the euro up 0.17 percent to $1.1753. The Japanese yen weakened 0.04 percent versus the greenback at 112.68 per dollar.

The U.S. bond market was closed for the Columbus Day holiday.

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