Global equities rise on strong earnings, oil gains

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global equities rose on Wednesday, lifted by strong results from Alphabet Inc and upbeat earnings in Europe, while oil prices advanced almost 2% to their highest in nearly a year after data showed U.S. crude stockpiles fell to their lowest since March.

FILE PHOTO: A man rides a bicycle past a screen displaying Nikkei share average and stock indexes outside a brokerage, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tokyo, Japan December 30, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Silver rebounded after retreating from a near eight-year peak reached with the help of a social media-inspired buying frenzy. Silver rose 0.92% to $26.86 an ounce on hopes further government stimulus would help boost industrial demand. [GOL/]

Videogame retailer GameStop Corp rose 2.68% to $92.41, clawing back a little ground after plunging from a peak of $483 last week.

The retail investors’ push-back on the shorting by hedge funds of GameStop and other stocks has caused investors to reposition their portfolios, said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York.

“There was a lot of selling last week and then a lot of buying since then,” Ghriskey said. “We are in earnings season and that means volatility in individual securities, both on the positive side and negative side,” he said.

But hopes of more U.S. stimulus and a stronger growth outlook has led to an upward revision of corporate earnings. The earnings growth rate for the fourth quarter has increased by 11.3 percentage points since Jan. 1, data from Refinitiv shows.

MSCI’s benchmark for global equity markets rose 0.33% to 663.15, less than 1 percentage points from an all-time high hit two weeks ago, while Europe’s broad FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.31% for a third straight day of gains.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.12%, the S&P 500 gained 0.10% and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.02%.

Alphabet, parent of Google, rose 7.28% to $2,058.88 following strong quarterly results from lockdowns that drove advertisers online and helped push the communication services index to an all-time high.

Novo Nordisk, Siemens AG and Publicis Groupe SA rose after upbeat results in Europe. Daimler was the top boost to the pan-European STOXX 600 index after unveiling plans to spin-off its trucks business.

Germany’s DAX index rose 0.7% to hit its highest in two weeks.

The prospect of Mario Draghi, the former European Central Bank chief, becoming prime minister in Italy added to the cheer in Europe.

The dollar’s rebound slowed, with the euro and Japanese yen holding near widely watched levels as foreign exchange markets looked for clues to their next move, possibly from the U.S. jobs report on Friday.

The euro hovered just above a two-month low of $1.20 as the yen spent a second day trading near 105.

The dollar index rose 0.035%, with the euro down 0.09% to $1.2031.

The Japanese yen weakened 0.03% versus the greenback at 105.02 per dollar.

U.S. crude oil stockpiles fell last week to 475.7 million barrels, the Energy Information Administration said, their lowest since March. Refiner utilization rates, meanwhile, rose by 0.6 percentage points.

Brent crude futures rose $1.00 to settle at $58.46 a barrel, while U.S. crude futures settled up 93 cents at $55.69 a barrel.

U.S. gold futures settled up 0.1% at $1,835.10 an ounce.

The 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose about 3 basis points to 1.134%.

Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Richard Chang