World stocks touch record high, dollar decline deepens | Reuters
By Lewis Krauskopf | NEW YORK NEW YORK A global stocks index touched a fresh record high on Friday, wrapping up a week when many of the world's major central banks either raised interest rates or signaled they might do so, underlining confidence about economic growth and inflation.
By Lewis Krauskopf
| NEW YORK
NEW YORK A global stocks index touched a fresh record high on Friday, wrapping up a week when many of the world's major central banks either raised interest rates or signaled they might do so, underlining confidence about economic growth and inflation. The U.S. dollar slipped, continuing its slide in the wake of the Federal Reserve's decision on Wednesday to boost interest rates but maintain a gradual pace of hikes this year.Investors were also watching a meeting of global finance chiefs in Germany beginning on Friday. The world's financial leaders will renounce competitive devaluations and warn against exchange rate volatility, a document showed.MSCI's all-country world stock index .MIWD00000PUS was little changed after touching an all-time high earlier in the day.The Fed raised rates for the second time in three months on Wednesday and China hiked rates on Thursday, while Britain and a European Central Bank policymaker hinted at higher rates."It looks like the rest of the central banks may be thinking about tightening up a little bit," said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama."It confirms that growth is improving both domestically and globally, which is what everyone has been looking for ... They wouldn’t be doing that if their economies still needed aggressive monetary stimulus."
On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 ended slightly lower, as bank shares fell alongside Treasury yields.The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 19.93 points, or 0.1 percent, to 20,914.62, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 3.13 points, or 0.13 percent, to 2,378.25 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 0.24 points to 5,901.00.The pan-European STOXX 600 index gained 0.2 percent. European bank stocks .SX7E touched their highest point in more than a year after an European Central Bank policymaker kindled talk of a possible rate hike.
The ECB will decide later whether to raise interest rates before or after ending its bond purchase program, policymaker Ewald Nowotny told a newspaper."I think Nowotny and a lot of the regulators and central bankers realize that negative interest rates have been a disaster for the economy and they're going to get more positive," said David Hussey, head of European equities at Manulife Asset Management in London.The dollar edged 0.04 percent lower to a fresh five-week low against a basket of currencies .DXY. The greenback remained under pressure for a third straight session after the Fed quashed hopes for a further bull run in the currency by keeping a gradual pace to its monetary tightening policy."At the moment, the dollar remains in correction mode," said Fawad Razaqzada, market analyst at Forex.com in London.
Data on Friday showed a steadily improving U.S. economy, with manufacturing output rising for a sixth straight month in February and preliminary consumer confidence for the month of March increasing as well.U.S. Treasury yields edged lower after data showing low inflation in March suggested the Fed could aim for a slower pace of rate hikes this year than it had forecast on Wednesday.Prices for benchmark 10-year Treasuries US10YT=RR gained 7/32 to yield 2.499 percent, from 2.524 percent late on Thursday.Oil prices were steady and posted modest gain weekly gains after losing almost 10 percent last week.Brent crude LCOc1 settled up 2 cents at $51.76 a barrel. U.S. light crude CLc1 settled up 3 cents at $48.78. (Additional reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss, Sam Forgione, John Geddie, Danilo Masoni and Kit Rees; Editing by James Dalgleish and Nick Zieminski)
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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.