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Strong US economic data push world markets up

Published: Friday, July 3 2015 11:58 a.m. MDT

In this Thursday, May 2, 2013, file photo, Trader Kevin Lodewick works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Strong U.S. economic indicators and a rebound in Japan's volatile stock index pushed world markers higher on Tuesday. (Associated Press) In this Thursday, May 2, 2013, file photo, Trader Kevin Lodewick works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Strong U.S. economic indicators and a rebound in Japan's volatile stock index pushed world markers higher on Tuesday. (Associated Press)

LONDON — Strong U.S. economic indicators and a rebound in Japan's volatile stock index pushed world markers higher on Tuesday.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller survey showed U.S. home prices rose 10.9 percent in March, the most since April 2006. Meanwhile, the Conference Board's measure of consumer confidence rose to a five-year high.

The figures are particularly encouraging because they indicate that U.S. consumer spending — which accounts for about three-quarters of activity in the world's largest economy — is firmly recovering.

In recent weeks, stronger economic indicators actually hurt stock markets because they raised worries that the Federal Reserve might end its monetary stimulus program earlier than expected. But investors seemed to be looking past such concerns on Tuesday.

By midafternoon in Europe, Britain's FTSE 100, which was closed for a public holiday Monday, was up 2 percent to 6,783.97. Germany's DAX advanced 1.6 percent to 8,518.83, while France's CAC-40 rose 1.8 percent to 4,068.14.

Wall Street opened higher following a three-day holiday weekend. The Dow Jones industrial was up 1.4 percent to 15,521, while the S&P 500 was 1.4 percent higher at 1,673.18.

Markets had started the day strongly thanks to an increase in the Japanese stock index. The Nikkei has been dictating market sentiment since Thursday, when it plummeted more than 7 percent after interest rates on the country's benchmark 10-year bond spiked to above 1 percent for the first time in a year. The swing in Japanese bonds unnerved investors at a time when Japan's already overburdened government finances are vulnerable to rises in interest rates.

The Nikkei 225 index rose 1.2 percent to close at 14,311.98 as the yen slipped against the dollar, helping Japanese exporters; the benchmark fell 3 percent on Tuesday. Overall, however, the index has soared 37 percent this year, a show of investor support for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his aggressive policies aimed at reversing years of economic malaise and deflation.

Elsewhere in Asia, the gains in Japan helped hoist other markets higher. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.1 percent to 22,924.25. South Korea's Kospi gained 0.3 percent to 1,986.22. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.2 percent to 4,970.70.

Benchmark oil for July delivery was up $1.27 to $95.42 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 10 cents to close at $94.15 per barrel on Friday.

In currencies, the euro fell to $1.2860 from $1.2934 late Monday in Europe. The dollar rose to 102.40 yen from 100.99.

Pamela Sampson in Bangkok contributed to this report.

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