World shares near five-year high

LONDON Mon May 20, 2013 1:03pm IST

People look at a stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo May 15, 2013. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

People look at a stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo May 15, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Toru Hanai

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LONDON (Reuters) - Rising optimism about global growth pushed world shares to a near five-year high on Monday, while comments from Japan's economy minister that consumers could suffer if the yen falls further lifted it off a 4-1/2 low.

Data last week that showed U.S. consumer sentiment at its strongest in nearly six years continued to support equity markets. MSCI's world index is at its highest since June 2008 as top European shares started the week up 0.2 percent.

With risk appetite dominating, safe-haven German Bunds fell 45 ticks, while gold, also pressured by signs the U.S. Federal Reserve could start winding down its support, extended it longest losing streak in four years to hit a 1-month low.

"We have started to see a series of positive readings coming out of the United States. We are positioned for a rising market and think that the best way is to invest in financials," said HSBC equity strategist Robert Parkes.

In the currency market, focus remained largely on the yen and it edged up from last week's 4-1/2 year low after Japan's economy minister suggested over the weekend the government might be satisfied with its level after it recent slump.

"People say the excessively strong yen has corrected quite a bit. If the yen continues to weaken steadily from here, negative effects on people's lives will emerge," Japanese Economics Minister Akira Amari told a Sunday talk show.

As European trading gathered pace Brent crude held steady at $104.60 a barrel while copper eased 0.36 percent to $7,282.50 a tonne as the talk of the Fed tapering its bond purchases weighed on sentiment.

(Reporting by Marc Jones; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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