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U.S. dollar hits five-year highs, stocks rally
December 3, 2014 / 12:33 AM / 3 years ago

U.S. dollar hits five-year highs, stocks rally

A man is reflected on an electronic stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo, November 17, 2014. REUTERS/Issei Kato

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global equity markets rose and the dollar climbed to its highest since 2009 on Wednesday as momentum grew for the European Central Bank to launch a bond-buying program and data showed U.S. economic resiliency in the face of slowing world growth.

The Dow industrials and benchmark S&P 500 set fresh record closing and intra-day highs on Wall Street.

U.S. Treasuries prices steadied after two days of losses as bond traders awaited a possible ECB shift in monetary policy on Thursday and a key report on American unemployment on Friday.

Most euro zone bond yields headed toward record lows, with Italian 10-year yields falling below 2 percent for the first time. The ECB is under pressure to do more to boost growth and fend off deflation as oil prices slump and business activity in the bloc grew less than expected in November.

The euro skidded to a 27-month trough against the dollar, which also hit a seven-year peak against the yen. The greenback got a boost as Federal Reserve officials made upbeat comments about the U.S. economy, feeding expectations for a U.S. interest rate hike in mid-2015.

“We’re looking for any stimulus, and are vulnerable to no additional actions being taken,” said Joseph Quinlan, chief market strategist at U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management in New York. “We’ll feel more confident about global prospects if we have a more proactive ECB,” he said.

The dollar rose to its highest level since March 2009 against a basket of major currencies at 89.005 .DXY, and last traded at 88.961, up 0.35 percent for the session.

The euro fell 0.59 percent to $1.2309, just off the day's low of $1.2301 EUR=D4, its weakest since August 2012.

Against the yen JPY=, the dollar rose 0.51 percent to 119.80.

European stocks rose, led by Greece, Italy and Spain, as investors bet the ECB would signal further economic stimulus. MSCI's all-country world stock index .MIWD00000PUS rose 0.15 percent, while the FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top European shares closed up 0.54 percent at 1,399.97 points.

U.S. stocks advanced, led by commodity-related shares, as data continued to show a strengthening U.S. economy. The U.S. private sector created 208,000 jobs last month, fewer than expected but suggesting a slowing global economy was having limited domestic impact.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI closed up 33.07 points, or 0.18 percent, to 17,912.62. The S&P 500 .SPX gained 7.78 points, or 0.38 percent, to 2,074.33 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC rose 18.66 points, or 0.39 percent, to 4,774.47.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury US10YT=RR rose slightly above break-even to yield 2.2835 percent.

U.S. crude closed higher after data showed a surprise tumble in inventories, but a report suggesting Saudi Arabia expected still lower prices for oil sent Brent below $70 a barrel.

Brent for delivery in January LCOc1 settled down 62 cents at $69.92 a barrel after falling by $2 on Tuesday on a deal between Baghdad and its Kurdish region over oil sales.

U.S. crude for January delivery CLc1 rose 50 cents to settle at $67.38 a barrel.

Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Alan Crosby

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