World stocks touch record high, dollar decline deepens

Fri Mar 17, 2017 4:35pm EDT
 
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By Lewis Krauskopf

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A global stocks index touched a fresh record high on Friday, wrapping up a week when many of the world's major central banks either raised interest rates or signaled they might do so, underlining confidence about economic growth and inflation.

The U.S. dollar slipped, continuing its slide in the wake of the Federal Reserve's decision on Wednesday to boost interest rates but maintain a gradual pace of hikes this year.

Investors were also watching a meeting of global finance chiefs in Germany beginning on Friday. The world's financial leaders will renounce competitive devaluations and warn against exchange rate volatility, a document showed.

MSCI's all-country world stock index .MIWD00000PUS was little changed after touching an all-time high earlier in the day.

The Fed raised rates for the second time in three months on Wednesday and China hiked rates on Thursday, while Britain and a European Central Bank policymaker hinted at higher rates.

"It looks like the rest of the central banks may be thinking about tightening up a little bit," said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama.

"It confirms that growth is improving both domestically and globally, which is what everyone has been looking for ... They wouldn’t be doing that if their economies still needed aggressive monetary stimulus."

On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 ended slightly lower, as bank shares fell alongside Treasury yields.   Continued...

 
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 8, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid