Weaker dollar lifts commodities, stocks | Reuters

NEW YORK The U.S. dollar dropped to its lowest level in nearly eight months on Monday, lifting metals prices and commodity sector stocks, and U.S. crude reversed losses to trade above $40 a barrel.

Safe-haven gold hit a three-week high while the yen hit its highest against the dollar in almost a year and a half, pushing Tokyo to warn it could again intervene against its currency's rally.

On Wall Street, stocks opened higher led by miners and ahead of results from Alcoa, seen as the unofficial start to quarterly reporting season.

Earnings at S&P 500 companies are expected to have fallen 7.7 percent in the first quarter from a year ago. Excluding the energy sector, reeling from the slide in crude prices since mid 2014, the S&P earnings decline estimate improves to minus 2.6 percent according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S data.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 83.92 points, or 0.48 percent, to 17,660.88, the S&P 500 gained 8.26 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,055.86 and the Nasdaq Composite added 29.51 points, or 0.61 percent, to 4,880.20.

Europe's FTSEuroFirst 300 index of leading shares rose 0.3 percent, helped by miners and a rally in Italian bank shares. European stocks have fallen for the last four weeks, and another down week would mark their worst run since mid-2013.

MSCI's gauge of shares across the globe rose 0.4 percent and Nikkei futures edged up 0.1 percent.

U.S. President Barack Obama will meet with Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Monday to discuss the economy and Wall Street reform. Any news on the path of interest rates or requirements for the largest banks would likely trigger moves in financial markets.


The greenback's slide against the yen prompted a warning from Japan's top government spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, who said recent currency moves were one-sided and speculative and that the government would take steps as needed.

"While the comments sent the yen lower overnight, the overall nervousness in global markets continues to keep the Japanese currency's safe-haven allure in high demand," said Omer Esiner, chief market strategist at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange in Washington.

The greenback was last down around 0.1 percent against the yen at 107.94 yen from a low of 107.61, the strongest reading for the yen since late October 2014.

The euro gained 0.3 percent against the greenback at $1.1437, not far from a six-month high touched last week.

The dollar index hit its lowest level since late August.

The weaker dollar helped lift spot gold to its highest point in four weeks. Gold rose to $1,254 an ounce, its highest since March 22. It was last up about 0.7 percent at $1,249.11.

Peru's select stock index rose more than 10 percent, on track for its biggest gain since 2008, while the sol PEN=PE currency strengthened. Keiko Fujimori, the conservative daughter of a jailed former president, was heading towards a tight runoff against investor favorite Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

In bond markets, the benchmark Treasury 10-year note was little changed, down 1/32 in price to yield 1.7254 percent from 1.722 percent late on Friday.

Brent crude prices rose to a four-month high as a rally in wider commodities markets encouraged buying ahead of a meeting of oil producers in Doha next Sunday, aimed at freezing current output levels.

Brent crude futures, the global benchmark, were up 1.8 percent at $42.70 a barrel, having touched a session high of $43.06, the highest level since Dec. 7. U.S. crude futures rose 1.5 percent to $40.32 a barrel. Both Brent and U.S. crude rose more than 6 percent on Friday.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos, additional reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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

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Updated Date: Apr 12, 2016 00:45:11 IST

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