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GLOBAL MARKETS-World shares near record levels as vaccines inject hope

· 02/05/2021 04:04
GLOBAL MARKETS-World shares near record levels as vaccines inject hope

MSCI ACWI near record peak hit in late January

Brisk earnings, U.S. stimulus, strong data boost sentiment

Bond yields higher on rising inflation expectations

Dollar, pound, shekel favoured on progress in vaccination

Global currencies vs US dollar https://tmsnrt.rs/2PmYOcE

By Lawrence White and Hideyuki Sano

- Global shares approached record highs on Friday and the dollar headed for its best weekly gain in three months, as progress in vaccine distribution and U.S. stimulus hopes prompted bets on further normalisation in the global economy.

An index of the world's major 50 markets, MSCI ACWI .MIWD00000PUS, rose 0.2% to 667.9, coming within reach of a record high of 670.82 touched about two weeks ago. It was the fifth consecutive day of gains.

The STOXX index .STOXX of Europe's 600 largest stocks was up 0.2% at 410.4, though slower vaccination rollout in continental Europe compared with Britain and the United States tempered optimism.

MSCI's gauge of Asian shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS rose 0.4% while Japan's Nikkei .N225 rallied 1.5%.

Expectations of a large stimulus by U.S. President Joe Biden's administration also supported risk sentiment while better-than-expected data on U.S. job markets released in the past two days fanned further hopes of a strong payroll report due at 1330 GMT.

"The fact that U.S. stocks are hitting record highs is not just thanks to the vaccine rollout, but also expectations of fiscal stimulus as it looks as though the Democrats will go on their own and not compromise with Republicans on a smaller package," said Philip Shaw, Chief Economist at Investec in London.

On Wall Street, each of the major indexes rose more than 1% on Thursday, with the Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC and S&P 500 .SPX setting record highs.

Longer-term U.S. Treasury yields rose in anticipation of a large pandemic relief bill from Washington as well as on heightening inflation expectations.

The benchmark 10-year yield US10YT=RR stood at 1.130%, having risen to a three-week high of 1.162% the previous day while the 30-year bonds US30YT=RR yielded 1.922%, near its 10 1/2-month high of 1.951% touched on Thursday.

Bond yields rose in Europe as well, with Germany's 30-year government bond yield DE30YT=RR climbing back into positive territory for the first time since September.

A market gauge of future U.S. inflation USIL5YF5Y=R was at its highest since October 2018 while that for the euro zone EUIL5YF5Y=R hit its highest since May 2019.

It was bad news, however, for the internet's new favourite shares, as the "Reddit rally" stocks GameStop GME.N and AMC Entertainment AMC.N plunged further after two weeks of wild swings fuelled by the WallStreetBets Reddit forum. nL1N2KA2C1


The dollar headed for its best weekly gain in three months, lifted by growing confidence that the U.S. economic recovery will outpace global peers. nL4N2KB171

The U.S. currency's bounce confounded dollar bears and traced a trading pattern known as the "Dollar Smile" which has in previous years preceded major U.S. economic rebounds and currency surges. nL1N2KA1YV

The U.S. dollar index =USD stood near a two-month high, having risen 1.1% so far this week, on course for its biggest weekly increase since late October.

The euro changed hands at $1.1964 EUR=, having hit a two-month low of $1.1952 while the yen hit a 3-1/2-month low of 105.70 per dollar JPY=.

"It seems markets are now trying to trade on economic normalisation based on progress in vaccination," said Arihiro Nagata, general manager of global investment at Sumitomo Mitsui Bank.

"The fact that the only currencies that are doing better than the dollar over the past two days are the British pound and the Israeli shekel, the two countries that are going further ahead in vaccination, seems to support that."

The British pound stood at $1.3678 GBP=D4 not far from its 2-1/2-year peak of $1.3759 hit late last month.

The shekel ILS=D4 rose over the past two days, reversing its decline since mid-January after the Bank of Israel intervened to stem the currency's strength after it had hit a 24-year high.

Strength in the dollar pushed gold to a two-month low of $1,785.10 per ounce XAU= on Thursday. The metal was last traded at $1,797.40.

Oil prices extended gains on the upbeat economic mood, falling inventories and the OPEC+ decision to stick to its output cuts.

U.S. crude CLc1 rose 0.6% to $56.6 per barrel and Brent LCOc1 was at $59.14, up 0.5%.

Global assetshttp://tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl

Global currencies vs. dollar http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

Emerging marketshttp://tmsnrt.rs/2ihRugV

MSCI All Country World Index Market Caphttp://tmsnrt.rs/2EmTD6j

Recovery in earningshttps://tmsnrt.rs/3oLYFfL

(Additional reporting by Imani Moise; Editing by Richard Chang, Christian Schmollinger and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

For Reuters Live Markets blog on European and UK stock markets, please click on: LIVE/)

((lawrence.white@thomsonreuters.com; +44 20 7513 5083; @ReutersLawrence))