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GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks tick higher to fresh records, euro retreats
March 6, 2013 / 4:11 PM / in 5 years

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks tick higher to fresh records, euro retreats

* U.S. crude trades below $90, near 2013 low
    * MSCI world share index just under June 2008 high
    * Euro dips as traders mull ECB rate cut chances


    By Rodrigo Campos
    NEW YORK, March 6 (Reuters) - Stocks in major markets rose
on Wednesday, building on Tuesday's record on the Dow
industrials and supported by steady U.S. data, while the euro
fell ahead of a European Central Bank meeting.
    The European Central Bank, the Bank of England and the Bank
of Japan are all expected to stick to easy monetary policies at
meetings this week, following reassurances by U.S. Federal
Reserve officials that their stimulus program remains in place.
 
    U.S. data showing a steady manufacturing sector and gains in
private employment, along with China's promise earlier this week
of record government spending to help sustain growth, pushed
major stock markets higher.
    In morning trading in New York, the Dow Jones industrial
average was up 25.80 points, or 0.18 percent, at
14,279.57. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 0.37
points, or 0.02 percent, at 1,540.16. The Nasdaq Composite Index
 was down 3.51 points, or 0.11 percent, at 3,220.62. 
    The Dow hit an intraday high and the broader S&P 500 was 1.5
percent away from its all-time closing record.
    The pan-European ESTOXX 50 was flat and the
FTSEurofirst 300 slipped 0.1 percent. The MSCI world
index was up 0.2 percent and just short of a new
4-3/4 year high.
   
    EURO, TREASURIES WEAKEN
    Better-than-expected U.S. jobs figures dented the allure of
Treasuries ahead of the February payrolls report expected
Friday.
    The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was
down 8/32, the yield at 1.9237 percent.  
    "I would not say we're headed toward a robust pace anytime
soon, but I do think it's encouraging that the economy seems to
be gathering a little more steam," said Russell T. Price, senior
economist with Ameriprise Financial Services Inc in Troy,
Michigan.
    The euro fell against the U.S. dollar a day before an ECB
policy-setting meeting, on bets the bank may flag future
interest rate cuts.
    "The focus is tomorrow's ECB meeting; where interest rates
are expected to remain on hold at 0.75 percent, however there is
wide debate about President (Mario) Draghi's tone during the
press conference," said Camilla Sutton, chief currency
strategist at Scotiabank in Toronto. 
    "We expect the ECB to ultimately turn more dovish, but that
it occurs in April not tomorrow."
    The euro was down 0.4 percent against the greenback
at $1.2994.
    As expected, official data confirmed the euro zone ended the
year in its second recession since 2009. Eurostat fleshed out
its numbers, showing Germany as the only major euro zone economy
to grow in the quarter, though at a crawl, while France, Spain
and Italy all contracted. 
    Areas of concern for the global economy remain, including
the Chinese government's move to cool the country's overheated
property market, the possible economic impact of U.S. spending
cuts and the political deadlock in Italy.
    Brent oil fell 0.9 percent, below $111 a barrel,
while U.S. crude traded below $90 and near its 2013 low.
    U.S. crude oil inventories rose more than forecast last week
while distillates stocks fell more than expected as refinery
utilization rates posted a surprise drop, data from the Energy
Information Administration showed on Wednesday.

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