Markets up on Japanese stimulus hopes; Wall Street at new highs

Tue Nov 18, 2014 4:48pm EST
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By Michael Connor

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stock markets around the world rose on Tuesday and the yen hit a seven-year low as news of a snap election and a delayed tax increase in Japan bolstered hopes for new stimulus measures a day after data showed the country was back in recession.

Wall Street got additional lift from merger deals, rises in healthcare issues and benign U.S. inflation data, with the S&P 500 and Dow Jones industrial average closing at new highs.

Japan's currency fell through 117 yen to the U.S. dollar, a low last touched in October 2007, but recovered some as the dollar declined against the euro and other major currencies,

Oil prices dropped again, with Brent under $79 a barrel.

Investors also cheered a better-than-expected reading of German investor and analyst sentiment, which pointed to a more positive outlook for Europe's No. 1 economy.

The MSCI index of world stocks was up 0.7 percent.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones rose 0.23 percent to a record closing high of 17,687.82, while the S&P 500 ended higher for a fourth straight session and was at a new all-time peak. The S&P health care index was up 1.6 percent.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's call for parliament to be dissolved on Friday is seen as likely to bring more measures to stimulate growth.   Continued...

Traders are pictured at their desks in front of the German share price index DAX board at the Frankfurt stock exchange November 18, 2014.     REUTERS/Remote/Stringer