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Global equities eye third week of gains after tech boost, dollar dips

MSCI’s broadest gauge of global shares was up 0.1 per cent in early European trade, 1.4 per cent higher on the week and just 0.8 per cent off its all-time high. Europe’s top markets were all up, with the biggest, Britain’s FTSE 100, up 0.4 per cent. — Reuters pic

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LONDON, Oct 22 ― Global shares were on course for their third straight week of gains today, buoyed by tech stocks in Asia overnight, while the dollar dipped and oil prices held steady.

MSCI’s broadest gauge of global shares was up 0.1 per cent in early European trade, 1.4 per cent higher on the week and just 0.8 per cent off its all-time high. Europe’s top markets were all up, with the biggest, Britain’s FTSE 100, up 0.4 per cent.

That followed gains in Asia, where equity bulls were also comforted by news that heavily indebted Chinese property firm China Evergrande Group had made a surprise interest payment, averting a default for now.

Japan’s Nikkei advanced 0.3 per cent, led by the technology sector, while energy and basic materials shares were the biggest drags as coal futures extended their losses after Beijing signalled it would intervene to cool surging prices that contributed to the country’s electricity shortage.

More broadly, investors have become increasingly concerned that persistent inflation could force central bankers to tighten monetary policy at a point where global economic growth remains fragile.

Mark Haefele, Chief Investment Officer, UBS Global Wealth Management, said in a note to clients that equities could still move higher, despite growing concerns around the impact of inflation and the potential for central banks to tighten policy.

“With current issues still appearing more temporary than structural, we believe equity markets will continue to move higher,” Haefele said.

“Indeed, small increases in inflation expectations can be positive for markets if it helps to banish fears of deflation. Furthermore, by our assessment, global growth remains strong, supply chain challenges should recede into 2022, and corporate earnings should continue to grow.”

US stock futures point to a 0.1 per cent lower open, after the cash index posted a record closing high overnight, led by surging tech shares.

Next week, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Google-owner Alphabet all report, with bulls hoping they can follow forecast-beating earnings this week from Netflix.

Meanwhile, yields on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes were at 1.6828 per cent, easing back from a five-month high of 1.7050 per cent reached overnight.

The dollar index, which gauges the greenback against six major rivals, was down 0.1 per cent to 93.639 today, despite initially bouncing off recent lows after US jobless claims fell to a 19-month low, pointing to a tighter labour market.

The Fed has signalled it could start to taper stimulus as soon as next month, with rate hikes to follow late next year. Full employment is among the Fed’s stated requirements for rates lift-off.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell speaks later today in a panel discussion.

Across commodities, oil was flat with Brent crude set for its first losing week in seven and West Texas Intermediate its first in nine.

Gold was up 0.5 per cent on the back of the weaker dollar, on course for its second week of gains. ― Reuters

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