(Recasts with U.S. markets' open; changes dateline; previous
By Barani Krishnan
NEW YORK, June 24 U.S. equities hit another
record high on Tuesday after encouraging data on consumer
confidence and new home sales, while sterling fell after the
head of the Bank of England stirred doubts about how soon
interest rates would rise.
The dollar and U.S. Treasuries prices gained, but flagging
business morale in Germany pulled European stocks lower.
In the latest signs of improving U.S. economic conditions,
consumer confidence rose more than expected in June, as did May
new home sales.
The S&P 500 eked out another intraday record and was on
track for its seventh straight rise in the past eight sessions.
"We remain bullish and are advising our clients to remain
overweight on equities, but the levels of valuations and
investor sentiment are starting to give us pause in the short
term," said Bill Greiner, chief investment officer of Mariner
Wealth Advisors, in Leawood, Kansas. "We're not in nosebleed
territory, but we are a bit stretched."
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 23.31 points,
or 0.14 percent, at 16,960.57. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was up 4.69 points, or 0.24 percent, at 1,967.30. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 30.62 points, or 0.70
percent, at 4,399.30.
U.S. Treasury bonds rose, pushing the 10-year benchmark
yield down almost two basis points to 2.60 percent.
Germany's Ifo index of business sentiment eased more than
expected in June to its lowest level this year.
"You are seeing economic statistics in Europe that are
disappointing," said Francois Savary, chief investment officer
at Swiss bank Reyl.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading shares was
off 0.06 percent, while the MSCI world stocks indicator
was up 0.1 percent.
Sterling fell below $1.70, down further from recent 5-year
peaks after BoE Governor Mark Carney said there was little wage
or inflationary pressure in the UK economy, and that spare
capacity will need to be absorbed before rates rise.
Sterling was last down 0.3 percent at $1.6968, having
earlier fallen more than half a cent to as low as $1.6971.
The euro was little changed at $1.3595. The dollar
index was up 0.1 percent at 80.382, well within the
narrow 80.000-81.000 range seen since May.
In commodities trading, gold hit a more than 2-month
high at $1,325.90 an ounce, up 5.5 percent for June. Silver hit
a 3-month high at $21.22 an ounce.
Brent crude was up 0.5 percent at $114.65 a barrel,
supported by the fighting in Iraq, supply disruption in Libya
and expectations of a decline in U.S. crude inventories.
U.S. crude was up 0.2 percent at $106.33.
(Additional reporting by Jamie McGeever in London; Editing by
Ruth Pitchford and Dan Grebler; To read Reuters Global Investing
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