July 18, 2018 / 12:41 AM / a year ago

World stocks climb to month peak, U.S. dollar hits three-week high

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks on major world markets climbed to a one-month high on Wednesday after a raft of strong corporate earnings, while the U.S. dollar hit a three-week high against major currencies.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., July 18, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.17 percent and touched its highest point in a month.

Stock markets were also supported by Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell reiterating that the U.S. economy was healthy, even though he warned that rising world protectionism would over time pose a risk to the global economic expansion.

“He’s been constructive on the economy and downplayed the risk of a recession,” said Jonathan Cohn, interest rate strategist with Credit Suisse in New York.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 79.4 points, or 0.32 percent, to 25,199.29, the S&P 500 gained 6.07 points, or 0.22 percent, to 2,815.62 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.67 points, or 0.01 percent, to 7,854.44.

The S&P 500 hit a more than five-month high.

Shares of Morgan Stanley, airline United Continental and railroad CSX all jumped after the companies reported better-than-expected results.

Amazon.com Inc’s stock market value reached $900 billion for the first time, though the shares later reversed course to trade slightly lower.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.60 percent, hitting a one-month high. The region’s shares were supported by currency weakness and a rally in technology stocks following well-received earnings updates, including from Sweden’s Ericsson.

In the foreign exchange market, the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six currencies, rose 0.17 percent, to 95.104 after rising as high 95.407. The euro was down 0.16 percent to $1.164.

Federal Reserve chairman Powell’s comments to Congress about the health of the U.S. economy reinforced the view that interest rates would continue to rise supporting demand for the dollar.

Traders saw his comments as signifying that authorities were comfortable with the greenback’s near 6 percent rise against its rivals in the last three months.

Benchmark U.S. 10-year notes last fell 4/32 in price to yield 2.8766 percent, from 2.862 percent late on Tuesday. The U.S. yield curve remained near its flattest in nearly 11 years.

Oil prices rose 1.0 percent after U.S. government data indicated bullish demand for gasoline and distillates, which overshadowed a surprise build in U.S. crude inventories and U.S. crude oil production’s hitting 11 million barrels per day for the first time.

U.S. crude settled up 1 percent at $68.76 per barrel, and Brent settled at $72.90, up 1 percent.

Spot gold fell to a one-year low as the U.S. dollar rose before settling at $1,227.81 an ounce.

Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf, additional reporting by Richard Leong in New York; editing by Clive McKeef

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