Stocks near record high, dollar up on optimism, earnings

Thu Jan 26, 2017 5:00pm EST
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By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A key index of global equity markets held near a record high on Thursday supported by mergers and acquisitions, strong corporate earnings and investor optimism spurred by U.S. President Donald Trump's plans for public spending.

Oil prices and the U.S. dollar were boosted by the ongoing rally in stocks. Crude prices rose 2 percent and the greenback rebounded from a seven-week low.

MSCI's world index .MIWD00000PUS, which tracks shares in 46 countries, was little changed and just 2 percent off its record high hit in April 2015.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average held above 20,000 after breaching that level for the first time on Wednesday, buoyed by optimism over Trump's pro-growth initiatives and solid earnings.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite edged higher at the open to hit record levels but finished the day little changed.

Early fourth-quarter U.S. corporate earnings have boosted sentiment and are expected to show growth of 7 percent, their biggest increase in two years, according to Thomson Reuters data.

"If all the economic data is good, if the earnings are good and the market doesn’t really seem to think anything (Trump) says or does is negative, I don’t see any downside," said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 32.4 points, or 0.16 percent, to end at 20,100.91, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 1.69 points, or 0.07 percent, to close at 2,296.68 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 1.16 points, or 0.02 percent, to finish at 5,655.18.   Continued...

A screen displays the Dow Jones Industrial Average surpassing the 20,000 mark following the closing bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid