Global stocks near five-year high, yen gains on Japan elections

Mon Jul 22, 2013 4:41pm EDT
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters) - World stock prices rose to near five-year highs on Monday on growing investor optimism after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe strengthened his power base, adding weight to his plans to jumpstart the world's third-biggest economy.

The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index hit a record closing high for a third straight session.

Investors' mood was also helped by a pledge from the Group of 20 on Saturday to put growth before austerity, seeking to revive a global economy that the bloc described as "too weak.

The yen rebounded after an initial dip in Tokyo, but many traders viewed the bounce as temporary in view of Abe's upper house election win on Sunday.

Riskier assets, including peripheral euro zone bonds, got a boost after Portugal's president moved to keep the country's coalition government intact, patching over recent troubles.

However, disappointing earnings from McDonald's (MCD.N: Quote) mitigated the upbeat mood for equities as the U.S. fast-food giant posted weaker-than-expected results.

"McDonald's (earnings) headlines were a little weak, but I think we are still in the strong start of the earnings season," said Ryan Detrick, senior technical strategist at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Data showing a surprise drop in U.S. existing-home sales in June also tempered the initial buying of equities and other risky assets.   Continued...

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the markets opening in New York, July 22, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson