January 26, 2018 / 5:23 PM / 4 months ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks extend winning streak, dollar wilts again

* MSCI world stocks index extends winning streak

* Dollar buckles again

* U.S. stocks hit record highs early (Updates with late morning U.S. markets activity, changes byline, dateline, previous LONDON)

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, Jan 26 (Reuters) - A key world stock market index extended gains on Friday, putting it on track for its longest weekly winning streak since 1999, while Intel’s results boosted stocks on Wall Street and the U.S. dollar remained weak after an official’s recent comments.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, was on track for its 10th week of gains, and the Dow and S&P 500 hit record highs.

Shares of Intel, which hit their highest in almost two decades following its quarterly results, boosted the U.S. stock market, helping investors shrug off weaker-than-expected U.S. economic growth data. Fourth-quarter gross domestic product increased at a 2.6 percent annual rate, a report showed.

The U.S. dollar remained weak against a basket of major currencies, still bruised by comments earlier this week by a senior U.S. official in support of a weak dollar and following Friday’s U.S. growth data.

President Donald Trump’s comments Thursday in favor of a “strong dollar,” a day after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said a weaker greenback would help U.S. trade balances in the short term, failed to put a lid on volatility and keep dollar bears in check.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was down 0.44 percent at 89.002, and on track for its worst weekly performance since May.

“The dollar move has attracted a lot of attention for the right reasons; it’s a pretty important driver right now for other assets,” said Peter Cecchini, managing director and chief market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald in New York.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 77.92 points, or 0.3 percent, to 26,470.71, the S&P 500 gained 13.42 points, or 0.47 percent, to 2,852.67 and the Nasdaq Composite added 42.01 points, or 0.57 percent, to 7,453.17.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.54 percent and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.29 percent.

A 10th week of gains for the MSCI world index would be its longest winning streak since 1999.

In a weekly note on capital flows, Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts said that 98 percent of global equity markets are now trading above 50 and 200-day moving averages, though the pace of the melt-up meant a correction was now increasingly likely.

World equity markets have rallied over the past year, buoyed by a synchronized uptick in global economic growth in a boon to corporate profits and stock valuations. But some reckon other factors may be spurring the rally.

U.S. Treasury yields trimmed early gains after the GDP data.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 14/32 in price to yield 2.6711 percent, from 2.621 percent late on Thursday.

In the energy market, U.S. crude rose 0.89 percent to $66.09 per barrel and Brent was last at $70.47, up 0.07 percent on the day.

Additional reporting by Ritvik Carvalho and Marc Jones in London, Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru and Saqib Iqbal Ahmed in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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