World stocks hit fresh highs, dollar slips despite data

Herbert Lash, Reuters

Posted at Oct 05 2017 08:19 AM

NEW YORK - A gauge of global stocks and Wall Street rallied to fresh highs on Wednesday on encouraging growth worldwide, while the dollar fell even as data revealed an accelerating US service sector that could lead to higher interest rates in December.

The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all set new closing highs for the third consecutive session, while MSCI's index of stock performance in 47 countries also hit a new high.

US Treasury debt yields rose on the Institute for Supply Management's index of non-manufacturing activity, which rose in September at its fastest clip in 12 years.

Oil prices were mixed on caution that rising US crude output could scupper a crude rally that lasted for most of the third quarter.

The potential for US tax reform has been driving the recent rally on Wall Street as geo-political tensions have ebbed and economic data remains strong, said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors in Boston.

"If the earnings season comes in as expected, you continue to see progress made on tax reform and you see diminished concerns about the geopolitical situation, the market wants to move higher," he said.

MSCI's all-country world stock index gained 0.10 percent while the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading regional shares closed down 0.13 percent at 1,533.43.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 19.97 points, or 0.09 percent, to 22,661.64. The S&P 500 gained 3.16 points, or 0.12 percent, to 2,537.74 and the Nasdaq Composite added 2.91 points, or 0.04 percent, to 6,534.63.

European shares fell as the impact of the crisis in Catalonia spread from Madrid and Spanish banks to the wider industry and euro zone region, particularly Italy.

Spain's IBEX posted its worst single-day loss in 15 months with a 2.85 percent decline.

Spanish government borrowing costs rose to their highest since March, stretching the gap over German benchmarks to the widest in over 5 months after Catalonia's secessionist leader said the region will declare independence in "days."

Catalonia will move next week to declare independence from Spain, a regional government source said, as a violence-marred vote on Sunday threatens the country's foundations and has unnerved financial markets.

Spain's 10-year bond yield rose as much as 7 basis points to 1.795 percent in early trades, according to Reuters data, the highest since mid-March.

Data from major economies showed solid growth worldwide.

In Europe, business across the euro zone grew rapidly in September as firms struggled to keep up with demand, a survey showed, with October looking likely to be lively as well.

IHS Markit's final composite Purchasing Managers' Index for the euro zone bounced to 56.7 last month from August's 55.7, in line with an earlier flash estimate and comfortably above the 50-mark that separates growth from contraction.

Japan's services sector expanded in September at the slowest rate in 11 months as the pace of new orders eased, but a raft of other data suggest the economic recovery remains intact even as momentum may have ebbed slightly in the third quarter.

US private employers added 135,000 jobs in September, topping economists' expectations by 10,000, even as Hurricane Harvey and Irma "significantly impacted smaller retailers," a report by a payrolls processor showed.

The increase for the ADP National Employment Report was the smallest since October 2016. August private payroll gains were revised down to 228,000 from the original 237,000 increase.

Brent settled down 20 cents at $55.80 per barrel, while U.S. crude fell 44 cents to settle at $49.98 a barrel.

US gold futures for December delivery settled up $2.20, or 0.2 percent, at $1,276.80 per ounce.

The dollar index fell 0.12 percent, with the euro up 0.16 percent to $1.1761. The Japanese yen strengthened 0.11 percent versus the greenback at 112.72 per dollar.

Benchmark 10-year notes was up 1/32 in price to yield 2.3283 percent.