(Adds European close; settlement prices for oil, gold)
* MSCI index, Dow, S&P 500, Nasdaq set intraday highs
* Dollar gains as data shows growing U.S. economy
* Oil up, talk of OPEC deal offsets record U.S. exports
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK, Oct 5 (Reuters) - World stock markets hit fresh highs on Thursday amid investor optimism over U.S. tax reforms and global economic conditions, while the dollar gained as data pointed to solid U.S. growth.
The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq were poised to notch record closes for the fourth consecutive day, as was MSCI’s gauge of equity markets in 47 countries as rosy economic data and budding signs U.S. tax reform legislation will pass cheered investors.
The Republican-controlled U.S. Congress hastened the overhaul of the U.S. tax code by moving closer to agreement on a budget resolution, taking a procedural step that would help advance eventual tax legislation.
U.S. investors have begun to warm to the notion that new U.S. fiscal policy will be in place by the first quarter, said Phil Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investors in New York.
Most investors felt that nothing would come of President Donald Trump’s tax reform effort until last week, he said.
“Only 30 percent of us were comfortable that something might happen. That could take up 2019 estimates for GDP growth and earnings per share, which could drive the S&P 500 above our 3,000 target,” Orlando said.
MSCI’s all-country world stock index reached an intraday peak. In Europe, the pan-regional FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.2 percent to close at 1,536.56.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 93.47 points, or 0.41 percent, at 22,755.11. The S&P 500 gained 12.66 points, or 0.50 percent, to 2,550.4, and the Nasdaq Composite added 42.52 points, or 0.65 percent, to 6,577.15.
A Reuters poll found sentiment that global stocks will continue to climb over the coming year on rising optimism about growth worldwide. However, a slim majority of equity strategists also expect the current eight-year bull run to end in 2018.
“There really is no alternative to being in the equity market,” said Larry Hatheway, chief economist at GAM Investment Management in Zurich.
“There’s no reason for anybody to sell equities at this point in time. There are no threats to an equity bull market that seem to be material,” he said.
The U.S. trade deficit fell in August as exports of goods and services rose to the highest in more than 2-1/2 years. Separately, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week.
Gold dipped on news of the data as it bolstered the notion U.S. interest rates will be raised in December. Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Patrick Harker said he was penciling in one more rate increase this year and three in 2018.
U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled down $3.60 at $1,273.20 per ounce.
The dollar index, tracking the greenback against a basket of key currencies, held under seven-week highs as investors awaited Friday’s U.S. jobless report for September to assess the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The storms proved a drag on robust business spending that was seen in the trade data.
The dollar index rose 0.54 percent, with the euro down 0.47 percent at $1.1704. The Japanese yen weakened 0.10 percent versus the greenback to 112.88 per dollar.
Oil prices rose as signs Saudi Arabia and Russia will limit production through next year overshadowed record U.S. exports and the return of production at a major Libyan oilfield.
Brent rose $1.20 to settle at $57.00 per barrel, while U.S. crude settled at $50.79, up 81 cents on the day.
Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Steve Orlofsky