World stocks reach milestones, dollar gains
By David Gaffen and Richard Leong
NEW YORK (Reuters) - World equity markets tested record highs on Friday on hopes of more stimulus from top central banks, while the dollar strengthened on favorable government debt yields compared to those of most other developed countries.
Wall Street scored solid gains after U.S. conglomerate General Electric Co. said it plans to sell assets and buy back up to $50 billion of its stock. This propelled GE shares to their highest since September 2008, ending up 10.8 percent at $28.51 in heavy volume.
Earlier, Japan's Nikkei index rose above 20,000 points for the first time in 15 years while top European shares advanced to their highest since 2000.
Oil prices rose on lowered expectations of an Iran nuclear deal that would allow more Iranian oil into the market.
Gold rose on the day but snapped a three-week winning streak on a stronger dollar.
"We are in a honeymoon period for risk assets, and will be for another quarter," said Sandra Crowl, an investment committee member at Paris-based asset managers Carmignac Gestion.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 98.92 points, or 0.55 percent, to 18,057.65, the S&P 500 ended up 10.88 points, or 0.52 percent, to 2,102.06 and the Nasdaq Composite finished 21.41 points, or 0.43 percent, higher at 4,995.98.
Tokyo's Nikkei closed down 0.2 percent after breaching the 20,000-point mark. Continued...