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Stocks climb on positive earnings, economic data; yields dip

2024 01 24T030032Z 1 LYNXMPEK0N02G RTROPTP 4 GLOBAL MARKETS - Global Banking | Finance

Stocks climb on positive earnings, economic data; yields dip

By Sinéad Carew and Tom Wilson

NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) -Global shares rose on Wednesday, fuelled by positive earnings, improving manufacturing data in Europe and the United States and optimism that China will support to its stock markets.

U.S. Treasury yields fell as investors awaited the first read of fourth-quarter U.S. gross domestic product for 2023 and next week’s meeting of the Federal Reserve, when policymakers may hint at when they start much-anticipated interest rate cuts.

On Wall Street the benchmark S&P 500 hit new intraday record highs as Netflix shares surged after the video streaming service smashed subscriber growth expectations and chip stocks gained on strong earnings from Dutch chipmaking equipment manufacturer ASML Holding.

Economic data was also a boost with U.S. business activity picking up in January and inflation appearing to abate. S&P Global said its flash U.S. Composite PMI Output Index, tracking manufacturing and services sectors, rose to its highest level since June, driven by gains in both services and manufacturing.

“Three things really stand out as far as driving stocks today. They’re charging higher after some good earnings, a decent set of purchasing manager indexes, and China’s continued stimulus efforts,” said Brian Jacobsen, chief economist at Annex Wealth Management.

Earlier China blue-chips added 1.4%, but hovered near five-year lows they have been trading at for the past week after Bloomberg reported authorities were preparing measures worth $278 billion to stabilise the country’s slumping stock market though some investors were sceptical and unimpressed.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, gained 0.85%.

On Wall Street, at 11:20 a.m. the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 117.40 points, or 0.31%, to 38,023.63, the S&P 500 gained 30.88 points, or 0.63%, to 4,895.48 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 143.26 points, or 0.92%, to 15,569.21.

ASML also helped cheer European investors with the Europe 600 index up 1.14%, on course for its biggest one-day percentage gain since mid November.

Europe’s data was mixed with the manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) showing a tough start to 2024 as euro zone business activity contracted while the outlook improved. Germany and France, the zone’s biggest economies, saw improvements in manufacturing PMIs even as services deteriorated.

The European Central Bank (ECB) meets on Thursday and is widely expected to keep rates unchanged. The U.S. Federal Reserve is also expected to keep rates steady when it meets next week but investors will monitor for clues on rate-cut timing.

In Treasuries, the yield on benchmark 10-year notes rose to 4.1377% compared with its U.S. close of 4.142% on Tuesday. The two-year yield, which rises with traders’ expectations of higher Fed fund rates, touched 4.353% compared with a U.S. close of 4.348%.

In currencies, the dollar index, which measures the greenback against six rivals, was down 0.4% after hitting its lowest point since Jan. 16 earlier in the day. [FRX/]

Nevertheless, the index is up about 1.7% for January, eying its strongest monthly gain since September as traders walked back expectations for early and steep Fed interest rate cuts.

Japan’s yen, strengthened after the Bank of Japan signalled on Tuesday that it could exit stimulus in the coming months. The dollar dropped 0.8% against the yen to 147.18.

In commodities, oil prices edged up with a bigger-than-expected U.S. crude storage withdrawal, Chinese stimulus and geopolitical tensions countering concerns about tepid demand.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 1.41%, or $1.05, to $75.42 a barrel. Brent crude rose 0.99%, or $0.79, to $80.34 [O/R]

In precious metals, gold fell 0.74% to $2,013.59 an ounce after the U.S. business activity pickup, even as the weakener dollar limited losses, and investors waited for more economic indicators later this week.

(Reporting by Sinéad Carew in New York, Tom Wilson in London; additional reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Singapore; Editing by Jamie Freed, Angus MacSwan, Chizu Nomiyama and David Evans)

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