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GLOBAL MARKETS-Europe leads stocks higher, oil tumbles
May 2, 2017 / 7:41 PM / 7 months ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Europe leads stocks higher, oil tumbles

* French bluechips near 10-yr high; German DAX hits record high

* Wall Street little changed as energy shares weigh

* Fed begins two-day monetary policy meeting (Updates prices, changes comment)

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, May 2 (Reuters) - A measure of stocks across major markets globally inched up to a record high on Tuesday, lifted by gains in Europe amid corporate and economic strength, while crude futures tumbled as prices breached key technical levels.

A broad index of European stocks rose to its highest since August 2015, boosted by company earnings and as a survey of factory activity in the euro zone jumped to its highest level since April 2011. French bluechips hit their highest level in nearly a decade and Germany’s DAX set a record high.

Robust results have helped lift share prices across the globe this year, with major U.S. indexes at or near record levels. First-quarter profits of companies on the benchmark S&P 500 index are expected to have risen 13.9 percent, the strongest rise since 2011, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Shares of Apple were up 0.6 percent ahead of its results after the closing bell. Gains in Mastercard, which was up 1.3 percent, were offset by a 0.5 percent decline in Pfizer after both companies posted earnings.

BP shares rose 1.6 percent after the oil major’s first-quarter profit tripled.

“The economy is doing better within Europe, but these also tend to be global companies,” said Isabelle Mateos y Lago, chief multi-asset strategist at BlackRock.

“The main reason why we are optimistic is because European companies are extremely well plugged in to benefit from the global reflation story, from China and U.S. growth picking up.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 21.52 points, or 0.1 percent, to 20,934.98, the S&P 500 lost 0.04 points to 2,388.29 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 4.83 points, or 0.08 percent, to 6,086.77.

The pan-European STOXX 600 rose 0.75 percent to end at a near 21-month high and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.25 percent and set an all-time high.

The U.S. dollar hit a six-week high of 112.30 Japanese yen as traders anticipated that despite some recent weak data the Federal Reserve would prepare markets for an interest rate increase in June in its statement following a policy meeting this week.

The yen weakened 0.16 percent against the greenback to 112.02 per dollar.

The Fed is expected to hold interest rates steady after its two-day meeting that began Tuesday, as it pauses to examine more economic data, but may hint it is on track for an increase in June.

Traders do not anticipate a hike on Wednesday but are currently forecasting a 65.2 percent chance of a 25 basis point hike at the Fed’s June meeting, according to Thomson Reuters data.

U.S. benchmark 10-year Treasury notes last rose 11/32 in price to yield 2.2892 percent, from 2.327 percent late on Monday, ahead of the statement from the central bank on Wednesday.

WTI plunged amid heavy technical selling as it fell through the $48.20 level, traders said, with about 50,000 contracts changing hands in 5 minutes. The selling also pulled global benchmark Brent crude lower.

U.S. crude fell 2.64 percent to $47.55 per barrel and Brent was last at $50.36, down 2.25 percent on the day.

Gold touched a three-week low of $1,251.37 an ounce as demand for the safe-haven asset waned. Spot gold was flat at $1,256.60 an ounce.

Reporting by Rodrigo Campos, Additional reporting by Helen Reid and Danilo Masoni in London and Sam Forgione, Lewis Krauskopf, Scott DiSavino and Karen Brettell in New York; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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