Global Markets: Stocks surge to record highs on hopes virus is peaking, gold ebbs
By Herbert Lash NEW YORK (Reuters) - Key U.S. and European stock indexes surged to fresh records on Tuesday after China's senior medical adviser suggested the deadly coronavirus may be over in April, a rosy outlook that helped crude prices to rebound on renewed Chinese demand. China's foremost medical adviser on the outbreak told Reuters the number of new cases were falling in parts and forecast the epidemic would peak this month, but the World Health Organization still feared a 'very grave' global threat.
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Key U.S. and European stock indexes surged to fresh records on Tuesday after China's senior medical adviser suggested the deadly coronavirus may be over in April, a rosy outlook that helped crude prices to rebound on renewed Chinese demand.
China's foremost medical adviser on the outbreak told Reuters the number of new cases were falling in parts and forecast the epidemic would peak this month, but the World Health Organization still feared a "very grave" global threat.
Gold edged lower and the dollar retreated from a four-month high against the euro as risk appetite improved, helping push bond yields higher.
MSCI's all-world stock index gained 0.64% to hit a record high, as did the pan-regional STOXX 600 index in Europe, the blue-chip DAX in Germany and the S&P/TSX Composite in Canada.
The Dow industrials, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all set records.
Investors are not euphoric and the coronavirus has added a dose of healthy skepticism in the marketplace, said Rahul Shah, chief executive of Ideal Asset Management in New York.
"We are comfortable with stocks grinding higher, versus shooting higher. So we think the slow gradual rise is bullish," Shah said. While valuations are slightly rich, "when you have a bull market people are going to pay more for quality names."
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told Congress that the U.S. economy is in a good place, even as he cited the potential threat from the coronavirus in China and concerns about the economy's long-term health.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 37.72 points, or 0.13%, to 29,314.54. The S&P 500 gained 16.46 points, or 0.49%, to 3,368.55 and the Nasdaq Composite added 73.48 points, or 0.76%, to 9,701.87.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.96% and emerging market stocks rose 1.21%.
Concerns about the economic impact of the coronavirus have recently added a safety bid for the dollar, while economic data has backed the view that the U.S. economic outlook is stronger than the euro zone's.
The dollar has also gained as investors turn to carry trades, where they borrow in low-yielding currencies such as the euro and the Swiss franc and invest in dollars or other high-yielding currencies.
The dollar index fell 0.06%, with the euro up 0.09% to $1.0919. The Japanese yen weakened 0.07% versus the greenback at 109.87 per dollar.
Brent crude rose $1.04 to $54.31 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude rose 66 cents to $50.23 a barrel.
Spot gold was down 0.49% at $1,564.20 an ounce.
(Reporting by Herbert Lash; Additional reporting by Marc Jones in London; editing by Larry King and Lisa Shumaker)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.