Global stocks, dollar cheered by brighter economic data, U.S. earnings

Thu Jan 16, 2014 7:44am EST
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By Toni Vorobyova

LONDON (Reuters) - Global stocks steadied around six-year peaks and the dollar rose on Thursday, held aloft by robust data from Europe, the United States and Japan as well as upbeat corporate earnings.

European car sales posted their strongest gain in four years in December, while in Japan core machinery orders jumped in November, a sign companies may be ready to ramp up investment and increase wages.

Sentiment has also been lifted in the past day by data showing manufacturing in New York state hit a 20-month high this month, one of the first glimpses of U.S. economic activity this year.

That has helped the dollar regain some of its swagger after being battered by the surprisingly weak U.S. non-farm payroll report at the end of last week.

The Federal Reserve said in its Beige Book published late on Wednesday that the world's biggest economy continued to grow at a moderate pace late last year, and some regions expected a pick-up in growth.

Thursday's data is expected to feature a fall in weekly U.S. jobless claims.

The dollar rose 0.2 percent to 104.72 yen, adding to a 0.3 percent rise overnight and bouncing back from a four-week low of 102.85 set on Monday.

Economic optimism weighed on safe-haven gold prices - which edged lower for a third day in a row - but benefited equities. The MSCI all-country world index .MIWD00000PUS held firm at 407.17 points, just 1.38 points below a six-year high.   Continued...

People walk past an electronic information board at the London Stock Exchange in the City of London October 11, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth