Stocks, bonds winner; euro loser in ECB move

January 23, 2015 10:30 AM

Stocks rose in Europe and Asia while bond yields fell to record lows from Italy to Spain as the European Central Bank’s expansion of asset purchases sent the euro to an 11-year low. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures were little changed after the gauge reversed this month’s losses.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 1.6% at 8:40 a.m. in New York, and shares in Asia gained for a fifth day. S&P 500 futures erased earlier gains after United Parcel Service Inc.’s preliminary earnings missed estimates. The bond rally sent Italy’s 10-year borrowing costs below 1.5% for the first time. The euro weakened 1.4% to $1.1174. Oil in New York fell 0.3% to $46.15 a barrel while copper sank 2% after manufacturing contracted in top user China.

ECB President Mario Draghi unveiled a quantitative-easing program valued at 1.14 trillion euros ($1.3 trillion) on Thursday and pledged to spend until there’s a “sustained adjustment” in inflation. Oil erased gains in New York following the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia as his successor said policies won’t change in the world’s largest crude exporter. The euro’s drop was exacerbated by concern an anti-austerity party will take power in Greece after elections Sunday.

“The strong commitment from Draghi to wipe out fears about the euro zone’s sustainability is good news,” said Pierre Mouton, who helps oversee $8 billion at Notz, Stucki & Cie. in Geneva. “Liquidity to the banking system should improve credit conditions, and thus economic growth. That will benefit equities. The ECB has given a time frame and the size of its QE is very helpful. Investors know they’ll be helped by the ECB for the next 18 months at least.”

U.S. existing home sales probably rose in December, while an index of leading indicators slipped, economists said before reports today. UPS dropped 5.9% in early New York trading.

Portugal Telecom

Three shares gained for every one that declined in the Stoxx 600, with trading volumes almost double the 30-day average, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The gauge has climbed 5.4% this week, heading for its biggest weekly jump December 2011 and extending a seven-year high.

Under the stimulus program, the ECB will purchase 60 billion euros a month through September 2016, which will probably comprise about 45 billion euros in investment-grade sovereign bonds, €5 billion in the debt of euro-area public agencies and €10 billion under existing programs to buy asset-backed securities and covered bonds, a euro-area official said.

Portugal Telecom SGPS SA jumped 18% and Altice SA advanced 5.8% after shareholders of the Portuguese carrier approved the sale of Oi SA’s Portuguese telecommunications assets to Altice, paving the way for consolidation in Brazil’s phone market. Telecom Italia SpA, which controls Tim Participacoes SA in the South American nation, climbed 5%.

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