* Stock prices worldwide hit record highs on oil, tax cut
* Crude futures rally on surprise drop in U.S. crude
* Dollar index slips on perceived less hawkish Fed minutes
* U.S. 10-year yield hits 2-week low, gold reaches 3-month
(Update market action, change dateline, previous LONDON)
By Richard Leong
NEW YORK, Feb 23 Global stock prices posted
record highs for a third straight session on Thursday, propelled
by an oil rally after a surprise drop in U.S. crude inventories
and comments by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about
pursuing significant tax reform.
The dollar was bogged down a day after minutes from the U.S.
Federal Reserve's Jan. 31-Feb. 1 policy meeting showed the
central bank was in no rush to raise interest rates.
Treasury and euro zone government bond yields declined as
ECB policymakers also signalled they were not getting carried
away by signs the euro zone economy is gathering strength.
This outlook for policy accommodation lifted gold prices to
a three-month high near $1,250 an ounce.
Equity markets around the world have advanced this year as
traders bet on tax cuts, less regulation and more infrastructure
spending from U.S. President Donald Trump and the
Republican-controlled Congress to bolster the U.S. economy.
Details on these stimulus programs have been sparse, raising
doubts whether bigger corporate profits will materialize.
On Thursday, Mnuchin spoke of wanting to see "very
significant" tax reform passed before Congress' August recess
and said the Trump administration was looking closely at border
"That's starting to put some details on tax reform. That's
reigniting some of the animal spirits," said Bill Northey, chief
investment officer for the private client group at U.S. Bank in
The MSCI world equity index, which tracks
shares in 46 nations, rose 0.48 points or 0.11 percent, to
446.52 after touching a record peak at 447.67.
On Wall Street, the Dow booked an all-time intraday high for
a 10th straight day, while S&P 500 touched a record high before
In morning trading, the Dow rose 22.48 points, or
0.11 percent, to 20,798.08, the S&P 500 lost 1.81 points,
or 0.08 percent, to 2,361.01 and the Nasdaq Composite
dropped 27.04 points, or 0.46 percent, to 5,833.58.
Europe's broad FTSEurofirst 300 index dipped 0.07
percent at 1,471.82, scaling back further from its 14-month peak
set on Wednesday.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
rose 0.89 points or 0.19 percent, to 471.69,
after reaching its highest since July 2015 earlier Thursday.
Gains in energy shares due to a jump in oil prices helped
lift the equity market.
Brent crude was last up $1.18, or 2.11 percent, at
$57.02 a barrel. U.S. crude was last up $1.09, or 2.03
percent, at $54.68.
A weaker dollar in the wake of Fed minutes that were
perceived as less hawkish whet appetite for gold and bonds.
The dollar index slipped 0.26 percent at 100.95.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield was down
over 2 basis points at 2.392 percent after hitting a two-week
low. German 10-year Bund yield
decreased 2 basis points at 0.251 percent, hovering at its
lowest level since early January.
Spot gold prices rose $8.80 or 0.71 percent, to
$1,246.11 an ounce.
(Additional reporting by Marc Jones, Nigel Stephenson, Atul
Prakash and Dhara Ranasinghe in London, Nichola Saminather in
Singapore, Aaron Sheldrick in Tokyo; Editing by Catherine Evans
and Nick Zieminski)