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Stocks rally as investors eye economic rebound, gold gains

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Stocks rally as investors eye economic rebound, gold gains 3

By Herbert Lash and Tommy Wilkes

NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) – Gold prices rose and a gauge of global equity markets on Monday was not far from a record as investors remain bullish about the economic recovery ahead of U.S. data that is expected to underline the strength of the rebound.

The dollar eased against a basket of currencies as the yield on Treasury bonds retreated on data showing U.S. manufacturing activity grew at a slower pace in April.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note traded 1.9 basis points lower at 1.6118% after a shortage of inputs restrained factory output as massive fiscal stimulus and rising vaccinations against COVID-19 unleashed pent-up demand.

The dollar index slipped 0.3%, making gold more affordable for holders of other currencies, while sliding Treasury yields reduced the opportunity cost of holding non-interest bearing gold.

In Europe, stocks closed higher after the European Commission outlined plans to loosen COVID-19 restrictions on tourism. Strong factory and retails sales data and a robust earnings season added to investor optimism.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index closed up 0.6% and MSCI's benchmark for global equity markets rose 0.25% to 703.6, about 0.6% away from a record closing high hit last week.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.82%, the S&P 500 gained 0.33% and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.41%.

Markets in China, Japan and Britain were closed for public holidays, keeping trading volumes thin.

Earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to rise 46.3% in the first quarter year over year, almost double the rate forecast at the start of April, Refinitiv IBES data show.

Of the 303 companies that have reported so far, 87.1% have beat analyst estimates, more than 20 percentage points above the long-term average, Refinitiv said.

German retail sales data for March came in far better than expected, underlining that a U.S.-led economic rebound is now gaining traction elsewhere.

But some economists think businesses may be getting ahead of themselves and influenced more by the success and speed of COVID-19 vaccination rollouts.

"The data has been unrealistically strong in recent months – while the underlying economy is performing very well, manufacturing growth is not quite at the stratospheric levels the surveys imply," said UBS economist Paul Donovan.

A busy week for U.S. economic data is expected to show resounding strength, particularly for the ISM manufacturing survey and April payrolls.

Euro zone government bond yields reversed earlier gains to track U.S. Treasuries lower on the U.S. manufacturing activity.

German benchmark 10-year yields fell 0.3 basis points to -0.204%, rising earlier to their highest at 0.162% since March 2020.

The rise in Germany yields accelerated last week when German inflation advanced further above the European Central Bank's target, and U.S. data showed economic growth speed up in the first quarter.

The dollar index fell 0.267%, with the euro up 0.3% to $1.2054. The Japanese yen strengthened 0.15% versus the greenback at 109.07 per dollar.

Spot gold prices rose 1.41% to $1,793.51 an ounce.

Cryptocurrency ether scaled a new record high beyond $3,000 as investors bet on increased adoption. Its 2021 gain of 325% has eclipsed that of bigger rival bitcoin <BTC=BTSP>.

 

Stocks rally as investors eye economic rebound, gold gains 4

Ethereum hits record high, quadruples in value in 2021 https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/qzjpqzxojvx/eth.png

Oil rose more than 1% as Chinese economic figures and U.S. vaccination rate pointed to a strong rebound in demand in the world's two largest economies.

Brent crude futures rose 77 cents, to $67.53 a barrel. U.S. crude futures gained 80 cents, to $64.38 a barrel.

Commodity prices, including oil, metals and many agricultural products, have rallied in recent weeks as investors wager on a wave of new demand as economies reopen.

(Reporting by Herbert Lash, additional reporting by Wayne Cole in Sydney and Yoruk Bahceli in Amsterdam; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Lisa Shumaker)

 

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