Weaker dollar boosts commodities, lifts equities | Reuters - Firstpost
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Weaker dollar boosts commodities, lifts equities | Reuters

Updated: Feb 4, 2016 13:46 IST

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NEW YORK Global equity markets rose on Thursday as diminished expectations of U.S. interest rate hikes this year pushed the dollar lower, which in turned boosted the prices of commodities.

The dollar fell for a fourth day on the latest batch of soft U.S. data, while comments from a U.S. Federal Reserve policymaker on Wednesday were viewed as a sign further rate hikes could be delayed.

Those comments were buttressed on Thursday by Robert Kaplan, the new head of the Dallas Fed, who said the central bank should be "patient" on rate increases.

The recent weakness in the greenback has provided investors the incentive to take profits in successful trades against commodities and emerging markets, which had suffered after a run higher by the dollar.

"The market is starting to price in anything that is the reverse of the Fed tightening," said Andrew Slimmon, portfolio manager at Morgan Stanley Investment Management in Chicago.

"That has implications for obviously oil, but also currencies that continue to weaken relative to the dollar, which is mainly the commodity oriented currencies and emerging markets."

The U.S. currency fell 0.8 percent against a basket of major currencies on Thursday and is down 3 percent for the week, on pace for its worst week since May 2009. It hit a 3-1/2 month low against the euro EUR= and held close to a two-week low against the Japanese yen JPY=.

Oil was volatile, fluctuating between gains and losses, following a sharp climb in the prior session, as investors assessed the potential for talks on a production cut.

Brent, the global benchmark, was down 0.9 percent at $34.73 a barrel, after hitting a high of $35.84 earlier in the day, while U.S. crude was off 0.43 percent at after reaching a high of $33.60.

The fall in the dollar also helped push metals higher, with copper and zinc both up more than 1 percent. In turn, that lifted emerging markets, whose economies are highly depending on commodities. The MSCI emerging markets index climbed 2.8 percent.

European shares dipped, with the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 off 0.15 percent, weighed down by a drop of nearly 11 percent in Credit Suisse (CSGN.VX), which reported a full-year loss. Commodity-related shares surged, however, as the STOXX Europe 600 Basic Resources Index jumped 7.3 percent and the oil and gas index .SXEP climbed 3.3 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 75.6 points, or 0.46 percent, to 16,412.26, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 4.67 points, or 0.24 percent, to 1,917.2 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 7.06 points, or 0.16 percent, to 4,511.30.

The U.S. gains were led by a 2.4-percent climb in the materials sector while energy advanced 0.4 percent. The MSCI World equity index rose 0.8 percent.

Stocks globally have had a dismal start to 2016, smacked by tepid U.S. growth, falling oil prices, and concern the world faces a China-led slowdown.

However, another potential worry, that the U.S. Federal Reserve would stay on course for four interest rate hikes in 2016, has eased somewhat.

Ten-year U.S. Treasury yields advanced 4/32 basis point to 1.8687 percent.

Gold, was last up 1.2 percent at $1,156.03 after hitting a three-month high at $1,157 an ounce.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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