U.S. and Canadian stocks rose with commodities, as the American dollar retreated from a 14-year high amid speculation that the global economy is poised for faster growth.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average resumed its pursuit of 20,000 as American equities advanced for a second day to start the year. European shares were little changed amid signs the region’s deflation scare has abated, while emerging-market stocks climbed. South Africa’s rand and Brazil’s real were among the biggest beneficiaries of returning appetite for risk as the dollar rally stalled. Oil recouped some of the previous day’s slump while aluminum and nickel climbed.
With near-zero rates stifling returns in much of the developed world, emerging markets are a buy for BlackRock Inc. Price swings on the MSCI gauge of developing nations are at their narrowest since August, 2015. The optimistic mood could be upset should minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s last meeting signal an accelerated path to higher rates when they are released later.
“The year has started with a stream of good macro stories which has justified a risk on position with investors,” said Andrew Milligan, head of global strategy at Standard Life Investments Ltd. in Edinburgh. He favours stocks and bonds of developed countries poised to benefit from a reflating U.S. economy that will boost the dollar over emerging markets.
The Dow climbed 33.89 points, or 0.17 per cent to 19,915.65.The S&P 500 Index rose 9.2 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 2,267.03 in New York. The Nasdaq gained 29.14 points or 0.54 per cent to 5,458.23.
Canada’s main stock index opened higher on Wednesday, a day after hitting a 20-month high, as industrial and materials stocks gained and Encana Corp. jumped on an upward revision to its margin forecast.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 63.5 points, or 0.41 per cent, at 15,466.53 shortly after the open. Six of its 10 main groups were higher.
Consumer-discretionary and industrial shares paced early gains, while phone stocks slipped.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index edged lower after Tuesday entering a bull market. Retailers led declines, with Next Plc tumbling 12 percent after cutting its annual profit forecast.
The MSCI Emerging Market Index gained for the seventh time in eight sessions and touched a three-week high.
The rand strengthened 1.5 per cent, the most among 24 emerging market currencies tracked by Bloomberg. The real gained almost 1 per cent.
China’s yuan rose 0.8 per cent in offshore trading on speculation of contingency plans by the government to support the yuan and curb capital outflows.
The U.S. Dollar Index was 0.4 per cent lower after touching its highest level since at least 2005.
The euro rose 0.3 percent in its first gain against the dollar this year after the region’s inflation accelerated in December at the fastest pace since 2013.
Citigroup Inc. strategists said in a Jan. 3 note to clients that “Russia and South Africa could be outperformers” in developing Europe, “but it might still be a bumpy ride for EMFX as the relatively hawkish FOMC signal from mid-December permeates.”
Initially crude oil futures climbed as much as 1.2 per cent in New York after tumbling 2.6 percent Tuesday. By 10 a.m. (ET) is slide 0.1 per cent to $52.28.
Gold was up 0.5 per cent after jumping 1 per cent in New York Tuesday while copper jumped 1.5 per cent.
U.S. Treasury notes due in 2026 edged lower, with the yield up two basis points to 2.46 per cent.
European bonds were mixed after the inflation data, with 10-year bund yields at 0.25 per cent.
The cost of insuring highly rated corporate debt against default dropped to the lowest since Sept. 9. The Markit iTraxx Europe Index of credit-default swaps on investment-grade companies declined one basis point to 69 basis points. A gauge of swaps on high-yield companies fell two basis points to 280 basis points, the lowest since July 2015.