Robust earnings boost equity markets after brutal month

Robust earnings boost equity markets after brutal month

NEW YORK – Robust corporate results helped world stock markets surge on Wednesday, bringing some relief to jittery investors after a brutal October sank equities with one of their worst drops since the financial crisis 10 years ago.

Strong earnings reports in the United States and Europe spurred a broad rally, despite data showing that China’s factory growth slowed to its lowest in two years. Investors rushed into the U.S. dollar, sending it to a 16-month high while the offshore Chinese yuan languished at a 22-month low.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, rose 1.3 percent, but remains down 7.3 percent in October, its biggest monthly decline since 2012. The index has dropped approximately 11 percent from all-time highs hit in January.

The recovery in global stocks, including gains overnight on Wall Street, pushed Treasury yields higher. Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 11/32 in price to yield 3.1492 percent, from 3.109 percent late on Tuesday.

“A lot of these high-growth names have really been in bear market territory because of the slump this month, but the valuation correction is allowing some of the bulls to be opportunistic and to jump in at the right moment,” said Ryan Nauman, market strategist at Informa Financial Intelligence in Zephyr Cove, Nevada.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 240.85 points, or 0.97 percent, to 25,115.49, the S&P 500 gained 29.04 points, or 1.08 percent, to 2,711.67 and the Nasdaq Composite added 144.25 points, or 2.01 percent, to 7,305.90.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 1.71 percent

Despite the broad rally, investors remained cautious.

“Ultimately I’m still of the belief that we are in for more downside and rallies are for selling, but squeezes in bear markets are not normally comfortable affairs,” said Neil Campling, co-head of the global thematic group at Mirabaud Securities.

“I think a 2-3 day battle toward the top of the downtrend. Then we can return to the bigger picture – the mid-terms (U.S. elections), trade wars, rates etc. once a few shorts have been taken out of the tape.”

The dollar index, tracking it against a basket of six major currencies, rose 0.02 percent, with the euro down 0.2 percent to $1.1321.

“Euro zone growth figures have been disappointing and the Bank of Japan is striking a dovish stance at a policy meeting today so there is more room for the dollar to gain from current levels,” said Paul Bednarczyk, director of G10 FX at Continuum Economics based in London.

The Chinese currency was on track for a loss of 1.4 percent in October, its seventh straight monthly decline and its longest losing streak on record.

Gold, set for its biggest monthly gain since January, dipped on the stronger dollar. Spot gold dropped 0.8 percent to $1,212.64 an ounce. U.S. gold futures fell 0.92 percent to $1,214.00 an ounce.

Oil prices recovered as markets braced for the imposition of U.S. sanctions on Iran next week. [O/R]

U.S. crude fell 1.66 percent to $65.08 per barrel and Brent was at $74.80, down 1.51 percent on the day.

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