Global shares ride tech high

November 3, 2015 08:33 AM

A 15-year high for tech stocks on the Nasdaq helped world shares to a 2-1/2 month peak on Tuesday, though more engine trouble for Volkswagen and a $5.1 billion cash call by Standard Chartered left Europe feeling flat.

Europe's FTSEurofirst was pushed into the red by a 9% slump by Standard Chartered and 3% drop at VW leaving MSCI's 45-country All World index struggling to stay in positive territory ahead of what was expected to be a lower start for Wall Street.

There was little new economic data for investors after a mixed batch on Monday, but China helped bolster the mood as its President Xi Jinping was quoted by state media saying growth would be no less than 6.5% over the next five years.

Investors were still struggling for clarity on the next move from the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, but Monday's eyecatching milestone for the Nasdaq was a reminder of the effect of years of stimulus.

"It shows that the risk appetite is still there," said Emile Cardon at Rabobank. "Volatility is quite low again and the earnings of the tech firms have been ok this quarter."

The dollar was beginning to find its feet again while Australia's dollar gained almost 1% after the country's central bank kept its rates on hold, disappointing those who had bet on a cut following the recent turbulence from its big trade partner China.

Turkey's lira and stocks eased back slightly after strong post-election gains on Monday, while the revived dollar pushed the euro back below $1.10.

U.S. jobs data on Friday is expected to be the big influencer in terms of the Fed's plans to raise its interest rates, while Mario Draghi, whose ECB is flagging more stimulus, is due to speak at a normally low-key event in Frankfurt later.

"Clearly the December FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meeting is much more in the balance than we thought it was a couple of weeks ago," said Adam Cole, head of currency strategy at RBC Capital Markets.

Engine trouble

U.S. stock index futures were slightly lower ahead of data later (10:00 a.m. ET/1400 GMT) expected to show new orders for factory goods fell 0.9% in September. U.S. carmakers will also release their October sales numbers.

In Europe, a rise in energy shares had initially propped up stocks but the support eventually gave way.

Standard Chartered was the main pull on the market as its shares slumped 9% after it announced plans to raise $5.1 billion in new capital through a rights issue and cut 15,000 jobs by 2018.

Volkswagen was back in reverse too, falling 3% after its emissions test cheating scandal widened to include its luxury brands Porsche and Audi.

The expectation of more ECB stimulus saw euro zone bond yields - which move inverse to prices - dip, while UK gilts and sterling both took in their stride British construction data showing new work coming in at its quickest in a year.

Overnight, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan broke a five-day losing streak to rise 1.1%. Activity in the region was limited, though, with Japan's Nikkei closed for a public holiday.

There was an element of global wariness too. Corporate earnings growth expectations for the next year for the constituents of the MSCI World, S&P 500, Europe and Asian stocks are currently stuck near five-year lows.

Within Asia, Jakarta and Hong Kong led the region higher. In China, the CSI300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen was flat.

Wall Street had a good outing with major indexes in the black, led by Nasdaq which rose 1.45% to its highest close since 2000, though futures prices pointed to subdued restart later.

In commodities, oil was off its lows of the days though the prospect of weak Chinese demand and record-high Russian production continued to feed worries about global oversupply.

Internationally traded Brent was up 75 cents at $49.10, gold nudged down for a fifth straight day to $1,131 an ounce, while global growth-attuned metal copper struggled at $5,126 a tonne as it faced a fifth day of falls too.

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