LONDON (Reuters) – Global equities were higher on Wednesday, extending the global equity market rally into a fifth month as investors cheered Apple’s strong results and the U.S. dollar dipped ahead of a policy statement from the Federal Reserve.
MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, was up 0.1 percent at 0858 GMT after rising to its highest since early October, although May Day holidays across Asia and Europe meant trading was thinner than usual.
In a sign of the growing appetite for riskier assets, Australian shares ended just shy of an 11-year peak and London’s blue chip was up 0.2 percent after solid earnings from supermarket chain Sainsbury’s. ()
CME E-Mini were at record highs and Nasdaq futures were up 0.7 percent, suggesting Wall Street is poised for more gains after hitting another record close overnight fueled by optimism about first quarter earnings.
Apple shares (NASDAQ:) rallied after the closing bell as the iPhone maker delivered forcecast-beating numbers that soothed worries about a prolonged weakness in global corporate results.
There was plenty to keep investors who were at their desks occupied: Beijing and Washington began their latest talks aimed at ending a bitter trade war and Fed chairman Jerome Powell was due to speak later following the central bank’s two-day policy meeting.
The U.S. dollar against a basket of six major currencies was down slightly, trading in a tight range after hitting a one-week low ahead of the Fed news.
“The risk for this Fed meeting is that, unless the FOMC meets the market’s dovish expectation for their stance, we would expect another leg higher in USD,” Mizuho strategists said in a note.
The Fed is largely expected to leave U.S. borrowing costs unchanged as it seeks to balance solid economic growth against low inflation.
A call from U.S. President Donald Trump for a cut in interest rates will likely be unheeded when the results of the Fed’s two-day meeting are released, but the unorthodox comments made on Twitter will increase focus on Powell at his press conference shortly after.
CAUTION FOR MAY
Sentiment has improved along with global economic data – most recently from the euro-zone where data on Tuesday showed Q1 growth topped expectations.
But there was some caution ahead of the summer lull with investors questioning how much longer the rally across global equities can last with better economic data and a stabilization in earnings priced in.
“Historically the more difficult half of the year starts today,” said Ian Williams (NYSE:), economics and strategy research analyst at Peel Hunt. “The next six months will present plenty of geo-political challenges.”
Elsewhere, commodities were mixed with base metals prices rising on hopes of a breakthrough in the U.S.-China talks, while prices eased as data showed a rise in U.S. inventories. [MET/L] [O/R]
futures were at $71.55 per barrel, down 0.8 percent, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 1.1 percent at $63.23 per barrel.
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