Global shares post best week since mid-2013 after earnings boost
By Sam Forgione
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global equity markets rose on Friday after strong corporate results from Microsoft and Procter & Gamble and reduced concerns over the possible spread of Ebola boosted U.S. shares and kept safe-haven U.S. Treasuries prices stable.
MSCI's all-country world equity index rose 3.1 percent for the week, marking its biggest weekly percentage gain since July 2013, while the benchmark U.S. S&P 500 was up 5.5 percent from its low on Oct. 15 and notched its best weekly gain in almost two years. Solid U.S. corporate results bolstered shares over the week.
News late on Thursday of the first person to test positive for Ebola in New York City weighed on European shares, and while the scare initially held back buying in the United States, U.S. investors later shook off those concerns.
"Ebola is something you want to keep an eye on, but the probability of widespread infection is pretty small, and I think that's what the market believes," said Scott Wren, senior equity strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors in St. Louis.
"Stocks were oversold. Investors were over-worried about global growth, they were over-worried about Ebola," he added on reasons for the stock market rally over the week.
Corporate earnings were mixed. Microsoft and Procter & Gamble rose following their quarterly results, offsetting a plunge in Amazon after the online retailer reported an earnings miss. Microsoft (MSFT.O: Quote) shares closed up 2.5 percent at $46.13, while Amazon (AMZN.O: Quote) shares closed down 8.3 percent at $287.06.
The euro rose against the dollar on the view that a weekend update on the euro zone banking sector's financial health would not reveal too many problems at the region's top banks. As of the end of 2013, 25 banks failed the European stress tests, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday.
MSCI's all-country world equity index .MIWD00000PUS was last up 0.45 percent, to 409.23. The FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 of top European shares closed down 0.34 percent at 1,312.74. Continued...