U.S. stocks jump to record highs, dollar rises

NEW YORK Tue May 14, 2013 4:25pm EDT

1 of 6. Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange, May 1, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street stocks jumped to record highs on Tuesday on hopes steady U.S. growth will extend equities' stellar run, while a strengthening dollar fueled further losses in oil and gold.

U.S. equities have risen the past three weeks with the Standard & Poor's 500 index racking up a 16 percent gain so far this year, due mainly to the sea of cash produced by the Federal Reserve and other major central banks' policies of ultra-low interest rates and asset purchases to stimulate their economies.

"The developed economies of the world are all easing aggressively, the money is looking for a home and it's ending up in the stock markets," said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama.

Less worried investors resumed purchases of stocks and other higher-return assets and reduced their holdings of safe-haven U.S. and German government bonds. The rise in global interest rates was mitigated by a weaker-than-expected report on German investor sentiment due to the poor outlook on the region's economy.

"People realize the world is not melting down. Growth isn't surging either, but it's growth and the market is adapting to that," said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois.

While worries about another spring "swoon" might have receded after the strong April U.S. payrolls data, the outlook for worldwide economic growth remained lukewarm.

Mohamed El-Erian, chief executive of PIMCO, which manages the world's largest bond mutual fund, said in the firm's outlook for the next three to five years that U.S. economic growth will not be "much greater" than 2 percent, while China will maintain growth in the range of 6 to 7.5 percent.

This modest view on the global economy, together with more energy output in North America, led the International Energy Agency to project a "more comfortable" energy picture over the next five years.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI ended up 123.57 points, or 0.82 percent, at 15,215.25. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX finished up 16.57 points, or 1.01 percent, at 1,650.34. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was closed up 23.82 points, or 0.69 percent, at 3,462.61.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of Europe's top shares .FTEU3 ended up 0.45 percent at 1,236.62, erasing early losses on disappointing investor confidence data from Germany's ZEW think tank. The index rose for a fourth straight session, just short of the near five-year intraday high set on Monday. .EU

U.S. and European equity gains lifted the MSCI global index .MIWD00000PUS to 375.72, up 0.4 percent on the day. They more than offset a 0.16 percent drop of Tokyo's Nikkei index .N225.

As the Dow and S&P 500 index posted record intraday peaks, the dollar rose to a nine-month-plus high versus a basket of major currencies. The dollar index .DXY was up 0.37 percent at 83.59 after touching 83.60, a level not seen since July 26.

The greenback hit a 4-1/2-year high against the yen and last traded at 102.28 yen, up 0.45 percent on the day. So far in May, it has gained 10.5 percent against the Japanese currency. <FRX/>

"We think against the yen, the dollar can go higher, helped by rising U.S. yields," said Marcus Hettinger, head of global forex research at Credit Suisse in London.

The yield on benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury notes rose to a seven-week high. The U.S. 10-year yield was last 1.966 percent, up 5 basis points on the day, while German Bund futures were down 56 basis points or 0.4 percent at 144.33, the lowest in seven weeks. <US/> <GVD/EUR>

U.S. and German yields have risen in the wake of the Bank of Japan's $1.4 trillion stimulus program, as investors pared their safe-haven holdings of these debt instruments. BoJ's bold asset purchase scheme also caused some rethinking about global growth and interest rates among the world's major economies.

The dollar's run-up caused further selling on gold and oil prices. A stronger dollar makes dollar-denominated commodities such as oil more expensive for holders of other currencies.

Brent crude oil fell as traders were caught between hopes of a revival in global economic growth and evidence of ample supply from IEA, the West's energy watchdog. June Brent futures settled down 22 cents or 0.21 percent at $102.60 a barrel, while U.S. crude futures settled 96 cents or 1.01 percent lower at $94.21.

Spot gold prices were on track for a fourth consecutive losing session as an early rebound faded with a turnaround in the dollar. Bullion was last 0.30 percent lower at $1,425.76 an ounce. <GOL/>

(Additional reporting by Leah Schnurr, Chuck Mikolajczak and Julie Haviv in New York and Marc Jones in London; Editing by Dan Grebler, Chizu Nomiyama and Nick Zieminski)

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Comments (1)
dropbox wrote:
Whenever I see pictures of those traders and news of our economy…I think to myself, we are in good hands. :)

May 14, 2013 4:58pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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