Global stock index rises, led by Europe; pound weakens
An index of global stocks climbed to its highest level in nearly a year on Tuesday, led by European shares, while the British pound weakened on the prospect of easing monetary policy in the country.
Germany`s DAX index jumped 2.5 percent to its highest point of 2016. Wall Street was little changed, receding after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq set fresh intraday records, as energy shares dropped amid weaker oil prices.
The pound fell for the fifth day in a row after a Bank of England policymaker said the central bank will probably have to loosen monetary policy further if the U.K.`s economy worsens. The Bank of England cut interest rates last week for the first time since 2009 in the wake of the country`s vote to leave the European Union.
With bond yields low in developed economies as central banks maintain accommodative monetary policies, investors have sought equities for yield, particularly stocks with high dividend payouts.
"The dominant theme in global markets is low interest rates and liquidity and the support it provides for the stock market, for equities globally," said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.
"Every fearful drop in the global stock market has been met by this lack of alternatives and cheap cost of financing... It’s a `risk on` when the world’s central banks have your back," Meckler said.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.95 points, or 0.01 percent, to 18,530.24, the S&P 500 gained 0.48 points, or 0.02 percent, to 2,181.37 and the Nasdaq Composite added 12.05 points, or 0.23 percent, to 5,225.19.
Gains in healthcare and tech sectors were offset by energy share declines.
After more than a year without setting new records, the benchmark S&P 500 consistently has been reaching new peaks after breaking to a new all-time high a month ago.
"The important thing is that the market continues to make new highs, albeit maybe intraday and maybe incrementally small, but the trend of the market is intact," said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index gained nearly 1 percent, rising for a fifth straight session, helped by well-received earnings reports from reinsurer Munich Re and telecoms group Altice .
MSCI`s all-country world index rose 0.5 percent, and touched its highest level since late August of 2015.
The pound fell 0.3 percent against the dollar and touched its lowest level in about a month.
Against a basket of currencies, the dollar <.DXY> fell 0.3 percent after four days of gains. The greenback was 0.6 percent weaker against the Japanese yen .
Oil prices fell as worries about a stubborn global petroleum glut offset forecasts for a weekly drop in U.S. crude inventories.
Brent crude fell 0.8 percent to $45.01 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude dropped 0.5 percent to $42.79 a barrel.
Longer-dated U.S. Treasury prices edged higher on Tuesday as a weak report on U.S. productivity suggested the economy may not be growing as quickly as anticipated.
Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes rose 12/32 in price to yield 1.5453 percent.