Global stocks extend record run; dollar steadies after Fed fall

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Stocks on world markets rose to record highs on upbeat corporate earnings Thursday, while U.S. Treasury yields and the dollar climbed, as investors assessed the Federal Reserve’s recent statement that it is closer to paring its balance sheet.

MSCI’s 47-country All World share index was at a record peak, while U.S. stocks hit all-time highs as well. Asian stocks had jumped to their highest in almost a decade.

The U.S. central bank said on Wednesday it expected to start winding down its massive holdings of bonds “relatively soon,” despite striking a cautious tone on low inflation.

Many analysts and traders expect the Fed to announce its balance sheet reduction plans when its policymakers meet in September.

Results from Facebook and Verizon helped boost U.S. stocks. With equity markets at record levels, investors have been counting on robust company earnings to justify relatively expensive stock valuations. Shares of Facebook were up 4.6 percent in U.S. midday trading, while Verizon was up 6.7 percent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 54.94 points, or 0.25 percent, to 21,765.95, the S&P 500 gained 3.83 points, or 0.15 percent, to 2,481.66 and the Nasdaq Composite added 31.33 points, or 0.49 percent, to 6,454.08.

The biggest one-day drop in AstraZeneca shares following a drug study failure dominated trading in Europe though a handful of results helped broader indexes nudge higher. The pan-European STOXX 600 was down 0.11 percent.

The U.S. dollar rallied against the euro and yen after solid U.S. economic data, bouncing back from lows hit after the Fed statement.

Dollar banknotes are seen in this picture illustration taken June 13, 2017.Dado Ruvic/Illustration

“The most significant thing was the durable goods orders, those came in much better than expected,” said Sireen Harajli, currency strategist at Mizuho Corporate Bank. “Especially given that the recent data releases in the U.S. have been coming in on the weaker side, I think that was welcome news this morning.”

Data showed that new orders for key U.S.-made capital goods unexpectedly fell in June, but a fifth straight monthly increase in shipments suggested that business spending on equipment supported economic growth in the second quarter.

The euro on Thursday fell 0.5 percent against the dollar, slipping back below $1.17.

The dollar rose 0.3 percent against the yen to 111.50 yen.

The dollar sank on Wednesday after the Fed’s policy statement suggested the Fed was in no hurry to raise interest rates again.

A Reuters poll showed most primary dealers still expect the Fed’s next rate rise to be in December. But rate futures are pricing in less than a 50 percent chance of a hike by then, compared to just over 50 percent before the Fed’s meeting.

Benchmark 10-year notes were last down 8/32 in price to yield 2.31 percent, up from 2.28 percent on Wednesday.

Oil prices edged higher after hitting eight-week highs Wednesday in the wake of a surprising slump in U.S. inventories that encouraged hopes that a global crude glut would recede.

Brent crude futures were up 23 cents at $51.20 a barrel, while U.S. crude was up 5 cents to $48.80.