Global stocks climb to 6-year high on IMF, Apple

Global stocks rallied toward the highest level in almost six years as Apple Inc. jumped and the International Monetary Fund indicated it would raise its outlook for the American economy. The yuan strengthened to a 20-year high against the dollar.

The MSCI All-Country World Index rose 0.6% as of 3:17 p.m. in New York, poised for the highest closing since January 2008. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index increased 0.5% to a record, and the Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.7%. The Nasdaq Composite Index surged 0.9% as technology stocks rallied. China’s seven-day repurchase rate was the highest since June 20 and the yuan closed at the most since 1993. Natural gas touched the highest level since July 2011 on speculation over a cold start to the new year.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said yesterday the organization is raising its outlook for the U.S. economy. Consumer spending rose in November by the most in five months as Americans took advantage of store discounts during the year-end shopping season. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) jumped 3.8% after the company struck a deal to sell its iPhones through China Mobile Ltd., the world’s largest phone company. China’s money rates surged as banks hoarded cash to meet year-end requirements.

“It’s a cauldron of bullish factors,” Donald Selkin, who helps manage about $3 billion as the New York-based chief market strategist at National Securities Corp., said by phone. “There’s the seasonal factor, the IMF raising its forecast and the Fed saying they’re going to keep the federal funds rate low.”

Global Rally

Worldwide stocks have rallied 2.5% over the past four trading days, boosting gains for 2013 to 19%. The Dow jumped 3% last week and the S&P 500 climbed 2.4%, with both gauges setting records, as the Federal Reserve said it will reduce the pace of bond buying amid faster- than-estimated economic growth. The S&P 500 (CME:SPH14) has advanced 28% in 2013, putting it on course for its biggest annual rally since 1997.

The IMF is raising its outlook for the U.S. economy as a budget deal in Washington and the Fed’s plan to taper its bond buying ease doubts about the future, Lagarde said yesterday in an interview broadcast on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” The IMF predicted in October that the world’s largest economy would expand 2.6% next year. Lagarde didn’t set out any new projections.

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