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GLOBAL MARKETS-Global growth bulls keep shares near record high

Stock MarketsApr 07, 2021 14:54
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* MSCI world index and Europe's STOXX idle near record high
* Wall Street expected to see flat start
* Dollar softens to two-week lows
* Crude oil prices rise on economic recovery hopes
* Graphic: Global asset performance
* Graphic: World FX rates

By Marc Jones
LONDON, April 7 (Reuters) - World stocks idled near record
highs on Wednesday as an International Monetary Fund forecast of
the strongest global growth since the 1970s this year and steady
bond and FX markets kept risk appetite buoyant.
While rising global COVID-19 case numbers and geopolitical
tensions between China and Taiwan and between Russia and Ukraine
ensured it was by no means a fairytale, markets certainly had a
Goldilocks feel again.
Europe's STOXX 600 .STOXX spent its morning perched just
below its first record high in over a year .EU . MSCI's
50-country world index .MIWD00000PUS was flirting with a sixth
day of gains and Wall Street futures were pointing sideways.
ESc1 .N
In the bond markets, there was little sign that the
benchmark government yields that drive global borrowing costs
were gearing up to shoot higher again while the dollar seemed
content to sit quietly at a two-week low. /FRX GVD/EUR
Investors' growth hopes had been bolstered on Tuesday when
the IMF raised its global forecast to 6% this year from 5.5%,
reflecting a rapidly brightening outlook for the U.S. economy.
If realized, that would be the fastest the world economy has
grown since 1976, albeit after the steepest annual downturn of
the post-war era last year when the COVID pandemic brought
commerce to a near stand-still at times.
Purchasing manager index data followed on Wednesday showing
a record expansion in the manufacturing sector helped euro zone
businesses return to growth last month, despite a third wave of
coronavirus infections continuing to hammer the services
"The economy has weathered recent lockdowns far better than
many had expected, thanks to resurgent manufacturing growth and
signs that social distancing and mobility restrictions are
having far less of an impact on service sector businesses than
seen this time last year," said Chris Williamson, chief business
economist at IHS Markit.
Overnight, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares
.MIAP00000PUS had started on a firm footing, going as high as
208.46 points, a level last seen on March 18.
However, it succumbed to selling pressure and ended flat as
China's blue-chip CSI300 index .CSI300 dipped 1% and Hong Kong
.HSI eased 0.9%.
Geopolitical tensions in the region added to the jitters.
Taiwan's foreign minister said on Wednesday it will fight to the
end if China attacks, adding that the United States saw a danger
that this could happen amid mounting Chinese military pressure,
including aircraft carrier drills, near the island. Asian markets managed to stay positive. Japan's Nikkei
.N225 closed higher; Australian shares .AXJO rose 0.6% and
South Korea's KOSPI .KS11 added 0.3%.

Wall Street futures pointed to a virtually horizontal start
for the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial and Nasdaq. The S&P 500
and the Dow had hit record levels on Monday, driven by a
stronger-than-expected jobs report last Friday and data showing
a dramatic rebound in U.S. services industry figures.
The upcoming earnings season is expected to show S&P profit
growth of 24.2% from a year earlier, according to Refinitiv
data, and investors will be watching to see whether corporate
results further confirm recent positive economic data.
All eyes will also be on minutes of the U.S. Federal
Reserve's March policy meeting when they are published later.
Ten-year and five-year Treasury yields US10YT=RR
US5YT=RR , were down at 1.6455% and 0.874% respective in Europe
from as high as 1.776% on the 10-year on March 30.
The five-year Treasury yield especially is seen as a major
barometer of the faith investors have in the Fed's message that
it doesn't expect to raise U.S. interest rates until 2024.
Europe's bond yields also eased, with southern European debt
markets stabilising after a selloff the previous session and as
Italy got more than 130 billion euros worth of orders for a new
50-year bond it was selling. The European Central Bank meanwhile will release monthly
data on its conventional asset purchases later, and a bi-monthly
breakdown of its PEPP pandemic emergency purchases which it has
vowed to increase to keep borrowing costs low.
The dollar =USD circled a two-week low of 92.340 against a
basket of world currencies. FRX/ The euro EUR= was flat at
$1.1880, sterling was 0.2% weaker at $1.3795 GBP= and Japanese
yen JPY= was a touch lower at 109.92.
Most of the sizeable moves were in emerging markets instead.
Turkey battered lira stumbled again and Russia's rouble RUB=
hit a five-month low as concerns over strained relations with
the West were fed by military clashes in Ukraine. "Notwithstanding the remoteness of a 'proxy' escalation in
the Ukraine conflict, the larger concern remains that the U.S.
will levy more severe sanctions against Russia than prior to the
flare up," BCS brokerage said in a note.
In commodities, Brent crude futures LCOc1 were nudging
lower at $62.67 a barrel. U.S. crude CLc1 was up at $59.51 and
both gold XAU= and copper were off at $1,736.4 an ounce and
8,980 a tonne respectively. GOL/ MET/L
"A large share of the hopes of a U.S. growth boom supported
by state aid and rapid vaccination progress has already been
priced in," Commerzbank FX and EM analyst Esther Reichelt wrote
in a note to clients.
"Further and more pronounced USD gains would only be
justified if this boom also caused rising inflation rates to
which the Fed would have to react with higher interest rates."

Global assets
Global currencies vs. dollar
Emerging markets
MSCI All Country World Index Market Cap
How financial markets have performed over the last week

GLOBAL MARKETS-Global growth bulls keep shares near record high

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