July 24, 2018 / 12:44 AM / 3 months ago

World stocks hit one-month high on U.S. earnings, China support

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks on major world markets hit their highest in more than a month on Tuesday, on good earnings reports from U.S. companies and after China promised fiscal action to support the world’s second-largest economy.

FILE PHOTO: The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

MSCI’s global stock index gained 0.58 percent.

The focus in the United States remained the banner corporate earnings reporting season which is in its busiest week for the quarter.

To date, 83 percent of the 110 S&P 500 stock index companies that have posted results have beaten profit estimates, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

“The results have been quite strong so investors have been a little more exuberant than they were at the end of June when the headlines were less about companies beating earnings than about the Trump administration beating the tariff trade drum,” said Matthew Bartolini, head of SPDR Americas research at State Street Global Advisors.

Stellar earnings from Google parent Alphabet, reported late Monday, also helped the U.S. technology sector stocks index to gain 0.5 percent.

Alphabet Inc, part of the so-called FAANG group of popular tech stocks that have led the U.S. market’s near-decade bull run, jumped gained 3.89 percent to a record high after a better-than-expected quarterly revenue jump.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 197.65 points, or 0.79 percent, to 25,241.94, the S&P 500 gained 13.42 points, or 0.48 percent, to 2,820.4 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.11 points, or 0.01 percent, to 7,840.77. [.N]

Metals and oil prices surged thanks to hopes for Chinese tax cuts and a lower yuan.

Clawing its way back from prices near one-year lows, copper rose 2.15 percent to $6,262.00 a tonne. U.S. crude oil settled up 0.93 percent at $68.52 per barrel while Brent gained 0.52 percent to $73.44.

China’s offshore yuan hit a one-year low and Beijing’s government bond yields jumped after the government said it would cut taxes to support economic growth and traders bet on further monetary policy easing. Shanghai blue chips closed up 1.5 percent at a one-month high.

“The big story is that the Chinese currency continues to slide,” said Societe Generale S.A. foreign-exchange strategist Alvin Tan.

“The government is moving towards policies that are supporting growth,” he added, saying the trend was likely to bring a reaction from the United States eventually.

The Chinese offshore yuan fell nearly 0.6 percent to a low of 6.8448 per dollar, its weakest since June 2017, before rebounding. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) had set conversion rates at their weakest in a year, a move suggesting that currencies may be weaponized in a flaring U.S.-China trade conflict.

“In our view, given how little is priced, there is limited room for further escalation in trade tensions and no room whatsoever for competitive devaluation, let alone a currency war,” wrote analysts from the Institute of International Finance Inc in a note.

Bonds yields globally were volatile following speculation that the Bank of Japan (BoJ) may soon trim its massive stimulus.

Bond yields gyrated, with ten-year benchmark U.S. Treasury notes trading between a one-month high of 2.973 percent and as low as 2.945 before ending the day higher in price as investors showed strong demand for a two-year note auctioned on Tuesday.

Bond bulls had been smarting from speculation that the BoJ is close to scaling back its monetary stimulus, a risk that lifted long-term borrowing costs globally.

Markets were worried that Japanese investors would have less incentive to hunt offshore for yield, said ANZ economist Felicity Emmett.

“The 10-basis-point steepening in the Japanese yield curve is massive in the context of a market that rarely moves more than 1 basis point,” she said.

“It reflects a broader fear that central banks are reducing their purchases while U.S. bond supply is set to rise significantly.”

Part of the shift in yields was caused by talk that data on second-quarter U.S. economic growth, due on Friday, would top current, 4.1 percent forecasts.

A man looks at an electronic stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan February 9, 2018. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Additional reporting by Wayne Cole in Sydney, Marc Jones and Abhinav Ramnarayan in London and Andres Guerra Luz in New York; Editing by Clive McKeef

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