Rosy earnings lift US stocks to record peaks, dollar at 1-month low

  • Dow Jones Index, S&P 500 hit record highs
  • Dollar sluggish at 1-month low on bets of a dovish Fed
  • Pan-European STOXX 600 index (.STOXX) also at all-time high
  • China shares bounce, still down sharply on week

NEW YORK, July 29 (Reuters) - Strong company earnings and solid economic growth data pushed U.S. shares to record highs on Thursday, though the Federal Reserve's message earlier this week that it was in no hurry to taper stimulus pinned the dollar at a one-month low.

Following a spate of strong earnings reports from companies from Ford Motor Co (F.N) to KFC-owner Yum Brands Inc (YUM.N) overnight, investors were further cheered by data showing the U.S. economy grew at a solid annualised pace of 6.5% in the second quarter. read more

"Today is a follow-on from really good earnings last night, which is great news," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York, which manages $4 billion in assets. "The expectation is that we will continue to see good earnings."

The volley of positive news lifted the Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) by 0.5%, after touching a record high of 35,155.18 points earlier in the session. The S&P 500 (.SPX) also jumped 0.5% after hitting an all-time high of 4,425.85 points, while the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) added 0.4%.

Equity markets elsewhere were also buoyant as investors digested news of bumper financial earnings in Europe, while reports that Chinese regulators had called banks overnight to soothe concerns about a widening regulatory crackdown further brightened the mood. read more

The pan-European STOXX 600 index (.STOXX) climbed 0.45%, having also hit a record high of 464.31 points earlier, and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe (.MIWD00000PUS) jumped 0.92%.

Chinese blue-chip shares (.CSI300) rebounded 1.9%, and the Hang Seng Tech Index (.HSCI), the target of heavy selling recently, leapt 3.8%, though it was still down 4% for the week.

But the market exuberance did not extend to the dollar, which languished as investors digested the Federal Reserve's remarks on Wednesday that the timing of when it will start to taper its bond purchases depends on the strength of economic data.

The dollar index fell 0.41% to 91.882, a level last seen on June 29. A sluggish dollar hoisted the euro up 0.39% to $1.1888, its highest in more than 3 weeks.

The Treasuries market appeared to agree as well that the Fed will be patient when it comes to withdrawing monetary policy support. That helped to push the yield on 10-year Treasury notes down 0.5 basis points to 1.258%.

The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was also down 0.4 basis points at 1.907%.

Gold investors also cheered the prospect that a dovish Fed that is more focused on supporting economic growth than tempering price pressures bodes well for bullion, which is seen as a hedge against inflation.

Spot gold climbed 1.2% to $1,828.96 an ounce, and U.S. gold futures gained 1.62% to $1,828.90 an ounce.

Oil prices were also firm as data showed crude stockpiles in the United States, the world's top oil consumer, fell to their lowest since January 2020, with Brent crude oil prices pushing back above $75 a barrel.

U.S. crude recently rose 0.99% to $73.11 per barrel and Brent was at $75.51, up 1.03% on the day.

Reporting by Koh Gui Qing in New York; Additional Reporting by Marc Jones in London, Wayne Cole in Sydney; Editing by Jan Harvey and Alistair Bell

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