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World Stocks Pop After All 4 Top Wall Street Markets Hit Record Highs

November 22, 2016

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World stocks on Tuesday rode the slipstream of the first joint all-time high for Wall Street’s four main markets since 1999, while oil prices hit their highest level since October.

A powerful earthquake hitting the same part of Japan that suffered a nuclear disaster in 2011 nudged up the safe-haven yen. The dollar slipped off a six-month high as the rally in oil and metals prices also drove up commodities-linked currencies such as the Australian dollar.

Asia’s top bourses had made solid gains overnight despite the clearest signal yet from U.S. President-elect Donald Trump that he will shake up trade with the region.

Europe’s main bourses were quickly on the front foot too with London’s FTSE, Frankfurt’s DAX and the CAC 40 in Paris up between 0.6-0.8% in early trade.

The European basic resources index, which has now doubled from its January lows, was the best performing sector as big names Anglo American (AAUKY), BHP Billiton (BHP), and Antofagasta jumped 4-5%.

Stocks are benefitting from a belief that Trump spending policies will spur growth.

“The fact Trump was elected means it is now seen as certain that you will see a rise in inflation and that the (Federal reserve) is going to hike rates.”, said Nataxis head of equities strategy Sylvain Goyon. “Some of his strategies are really pro growth.”

Having surged 4% on Monday, oil prices were nudging $50 a barrel again. Russian President Vladimir Putin raised hopes that producers will agree to limit output at an OPEC meeting next week.

Benchmark bonds meanwhile were taking a break from the surge in yields and plunge in prices since Trump’s unexpected victory earlier this month.

The difference between German and U.S. bond yields were back near multi-decade extremes after two of European Central Bank’s top policymakers reaffirmed the bank’s commitment to its mass stimulus program ahead of a flagged review next month.

“The return of inflation towards our objective still relies on the continuation of the current, unprecedented level of monetary support, in spite of the gradual closing of the output gap,” ECB President Mario Draghi said at a hearing in Strasbourg.

The bank is also likely to be wary about the uncertainty if Italy’s government, as opinion polls currently suggest, loses a referendum on constitutional changes just days before the ECB meeting.


Japan Quake

The dollar’s dip was a modest 0.3% but marked its second day in the red having snapped a 10-day and 10% rise against the yen on Monday that had taken it from 101 yen to over 111. It was hovering at 110.71 by 9:45 a.m. GMT.

Trump, outlining plans on Monday for his first day in office next year, pledged to withdraw from the TPP Asia-Pacific free trade accord.

Such a move may lead to retaliation by trade partners such as China and could potentially derail markets, Libby Cantrill, head of public policy at bond giant PIMCO, said.

But for now, expectations that Trump’s administration will adopt expansionary fiscal policies have pushed developed market stocks higher and even emerging market shares seem to have settled over the last week having initially been hit hard.

Overnight, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1.3 %, pulled up by a 1.3% rally in Australian shares. Korean shares and Hong Kong stocks rose 0.9% and 1.3% each.

Investors in Japanese stocks also appeared unfazed by Tuesday’s earthquake in northern Japan with the benchmark Nikkei average closing up 0.3%.

“Most of the flow into stocks seems to be retail-oriented with institutional investors preferring to sit out the rally unless they get a clearer picture on Trump’s economic team,” said Andrew Sullivan, managing director, sales trading at Haitong International Securities Group in Hong Kong.

The dollar’s mild weakness propped up gold prices with spot gold up 0.3% at $1217.70 per ounce. Gold prices have fallen 10% since the U.S. election outcome.

It also helped emerging market currencies trim some losses after a recent battering. The Chinese yuan rebounded from a near 8-1/2 low hit on Monday.

With markets moving higher, volatility indicators receded. The CBOE Volatility Index, a so-called “fear gauge,” fell 3.4%.