August 18, 2016 / 12:33 AM / 3 years ago

World stock markets climb on labor data, oil gains

NEW YORK (Reuters) - World equity markets rose on Thursday, helped by a weaker dollar and surging oil prices that touched their highest in six weeks to lift energy sector stocks.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The U.S. dollar was near an eight-week low against major currencies in the wake of minutes from the Federal Reserve’s July meeting published on Wednesday showing policymakers were unlikely to raise interest rates soon.

Key indexes on Wall Street edged up, aided by gains in the energy sector and by big-box retailer Wal-Mart that offset losses in the telecom sector. Wal-Mart rose as much as 3.1 percent to $75.19, a more than 14-month high, after the retailer posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 23.76 points, or 0.13 percent, to 18,597.7, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 4.8 points, or 0.22 percent, to 2,187.02 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 11.49 points, or 0.22 percent, to 5,240.15.

“The market has been Fed-driven so far; it is going through a phase where it will pivot from the Fed to more emphasis on companies growing their revenues,” said Thomas Wilson, managing director of Wealth Advisory at Brinker Capital, in Berwyn, Pa.

Energy stocks provided the biggest sector boost. Brent crude LCOc1 prices rose to their highest since July 4 as the world’s biggest producers prepared to discuss a possible freeze in production levels.

Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will meet on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum in Algeria on Sept. 26-28.

Brent last traded at $50.82 a barrel, up nearly 2 percent on the day. U.S. light crude oil CLc1 was up about 3 percent at $48.23.

Oil prices were also helped by a falling dollar .DXY, which slipped to its lowest against a basket of major currencies since June 24 as traders marked down the odds of an interest rate increase by the Fed.

“When we did not receive the unambiguous hawkishness from the FOMC minutes, that kind of opened up the door to additional (dollar) selling,” said Kathy Lien, managing director at BK Asset Management in New York

Oil is priced in dollars, so it becomes more valuable as the dollar’s value falls.

U.S. Treasury yields slipped as fixed-income investors were also doubtful of the likelihood that the Fed would tighten monetary policy soon, despite Dudley’s comments and another drop in jobless claims.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes US10YT=RR rose 8/32 in price for a yield of 1.531 percent.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index , which had fallen in the last four sessions on a run of weak company earnings, was up 0.72 percent.

MSCI’s All World index .MIWD00000PUS climbed 0.4 percent to head back toward a one-year high, lifted by a 0.47 percent rise in Asian shares, their biggest gain since Aug. 8. .MIAPJ0000PUS

Emerging market shares also had sizeable gains, with MSCI’s emerging markets index .MSCIEF up 0.68 percent.

Japan's Nikkei .N225, however, bucked the trend, dropping 1.5 percent after data showed exports from the country falling at their fastest pace since the financial crisis.

Additional reporting by Sam Forgione in New York and John Geddie and Christopher Johnson in London; Editing by Dan Grebler and Bernadette Baum

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