Stocks gain, bond yields dip after Portuguese bank rescue

NEW YORK Mon Aug 4, 2014 4:20pm EDT

People walk past an office of Portuguese bank Banco Espirito Santo (BES) in downtown Lisbon July 30, 2014. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

People walk past an office of Portuguese bank Banco Espirito Santo (BES) in downtown Lisbon July 30, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Rafael Marchante

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bond prices rallied and European bank stocks rose on Monday after Portugal forged a plan to prevent the collapse of one of its biggest lenders.

U.S. stocks also notched their biggest gain since July 18, with the S&P 500 .SPX coming off its worst week since 2012, as concerns over higher U.S. interest rates eased following Friday's U.S. employment report.

"Probably the biggest thing of all is it looks like they have come together with a plan on Banco Espirito Santo in Portugal, that in the background was maybe one thing that was spooking people quite a bit," said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois.

"That’s where the biggest development has been, they have a plan in place and they are moving forward on that, that is one thing that had contributed to the downdraft."

Portugal on Sunday announced a nearly 5-billion-euro ($6.6 billion) rescue of the country's largest listed bank, Banco Espirito Santo (BES.LS), preventing it from collapsing and potentially destabilizing the regional banking sector.

Portugal's 10-year yield PT10YT=TWEB fell to 3.651 percent, down 7 basis points, as investors bought the bonds on relief after the package was announced. Other European bond markets also rallied, with yields on Spanish and Italian bonds moving lower ES10YT=TWEB IT10YT=TWEB.

The FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of leading shares closed down 0.19 percent, giving up early gains. Pan-European banking stocks .SX7P finished up 0.3 percent, however.

The MSCI All-World Index .MIWD00000PUS advanced 0.3 percent.

U.S. financial shares rose .SPSY 0.8 percent, buoyed by a 3.1 percent gain in Berkshire Hathaway (BRKa.N)(BRKb.N) after it said on Friday second-quarter profit soared 41 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 75.91 points or 0.46 percent, to 16,569.28, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 13.84 points or 0.72 percent, to 1,938.99 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 31.25 points or 0.72 percent, to 4,383.89.


The rate-sensitive U.S. two-year Treasury note yield inched down at 0.4723 percent US2YT=RR and the 10-year yield fell to 2.49 percent US10YT=RR, declining in tandem with European yields.

Bond yields were also capped by Friday's U.S. jobs data for July, which showed job growth lower than forecast, the unemployment rate higher than expected and almost no growth in average hourly earnings.

A Reuters poll on Friday after the jobs data showed that a majority of top Wall Street bond firms do not see a rise in U.S. interest rates before the second half of next year.

"The real question becomes, will the Fed be able to transition and exit from QE3 gracefully?" said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital in New York.

Major currencies were little changed. The euro was at $1.3420 EUR=, off last week's eight-month low of $1.3365, while the dollar stood at 102.56 yen JPY=, off Wednesday's four-month peak of 103.08.

U.S. crude oil futures settled up 41 cents at $98.29 per barrel CLc1, recovering from a six-month low of $97.09 on Friday, and Brent LCOc1 crude settled up 57 cents at $105.41. Spot gold edged down 0.4 percent at $1,287.75 an ounce XAU=.

(Additional reporting by Akane Otani; Editing by Dan Grebler and James Dalgleish)

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Comments (1)
breezinthru wrote:
Reassuring? It appears that bankers who subvert laws and regulations to use money that belongs to their depositors and investors banks for off-the-books, high-risk endeavors at personal enrichment can safely still rely on taxpayers to bail them out of trouble.

In an honest society with an honest government, the headlines would mention something about certain members of the Espirito Santo family being taken to jail in handcuffs as their bank was nationalized to prevent its failure.

The headlines should mention that all of their personal assets have been seized or frozen and that those assets will be used to at least offset the bank’s losses.

A news organization like Reuters that serves the needs of an advanced, open society would recognize this as an opportunity to serve civilization, to take a precarious first step in bringing Europe and the rest of the world out of what has become our modern, financial feudal system.

Alas, Camelot!

Aug 04, 2014 6:30am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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