Cautious Fed lifts stocks to record high, investors eye earnings boost
Global stocks scaled record highs on Friday, with Asian equities rising for the fifth straight session, as signs the Federal Reserve will pursue a gradual rate tightening path and hopes of a strong earnings season lifted appetite for risk assets.
The MSCI World Index was marginally higher early on Friday, just a whisker below an all-time intraday high hit earlier. It is on track to end the week 1.6 percent higher.
MSCI`s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan advanced 0.3 percent to its highest level in two years. It`s set for a 3.3 percent gain for the week.
Japan`s Nikkei added 0.15 percent, poised for a weekly rise of 1 percent.
Chinese shares bucked the positive trend, with the CSI 300 index falling marginally, and the Shanghai Composite down 0.15 percent. Hong Kong`s Hang Seng climbed 0.2 percent.
Wall Street edged higher on Thursday, with the major indexes up between 0.1 and 0.2 percent, as stocks basked in comments by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen that the central bank`s rate hikes could be gradual, given persistently low inflation despite an improving economy.
Expectations that S
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