Stocks At 8-Month High, France Attack Subdues Europe

Stocks At 8-Month High, France Attack Subdues Europe

London: Reassuring Chinese data lifted world stocks to an eight-month high on Friday though Europe ended an otherwise strong week subdued after an attack by a gunman at the wheel of a truck in the south of France killed at least 84 people.

Britain's FTSE 100 and Germany's DAX managed to shake off an early dip to be back level but France's CAC40 remained 0.4 percent lower after a gunman on Thursday evening ploughed into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in the Riviera resort of Nice.

News, though, that China's economy grew a slightly better-than-expected 6.7 percent in the second quarter as the government stepped up spending helped extend the week's global rally in risk assets.

MSCI's 46-country All World stocks index was at its highest since early November after a 2.7 percent jump on the week.

The pound, which took a battering after the UK voted last month to leave the European Union, was set for its best week ever against the safe-haven Japanese yen, up roughly 9 percent. It was also up 3.7 percent on the dollar and over 3 percent against the euro.

For the risk adverse holders of the yen it has been a brutal week all round amid talk authorities there are readying another super-sized slug of stimulus.

It was trading down almost 0.5 percent at 105.81 yen per dollar in early Europe trading having dropped as low as 106.27 overnight and was heading for a weekly fall of 5 percent, its biggest since February 1999.

"The Chinese data is helping risk sentiment," said Yujiro Goto, currency strategist at Normura. "Overall, we have had some good headlines this week, like more political stability in the UK, expectations of more Japanese stimulus and all these are contributing to investors selling the yen."

There has been a big shift in direction in bond markets too after a searing, month-long rally.

Benchmark 10-year German bond yields, which move inverse to price, were set for their biggest weekly rise in almost three months, and for U.S. Treasuries it was set to be the largest in exactly a year.

Investors sense the global focus may be shifting towards fiscal rather than the central bank stimulus that has been pushing global borrowing costs to record lows for years.

In commodity markets, oil prices trickled back to below $47 a barrel after data showing weak U.S. fuel demand.

However, the solid China data pushed industrial bellwether metal copper towards its best week in four months as safe-haven gold faced its first weekly fall since May.

"We've had a big sell-off across safe-haven fixed income markets and that's partly because we've had such a strong rally, but also because there's been some genuinely positive news from other parts of the world this week," said Owen Callan, an analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

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