September 30, 2015 / 12:31 AM / 2 years ago

Global stocks end worst quarter in four years on upbeat note

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange September 23, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global equities ended their worst quarter since the 2011 euro zone crisis on an upbeat note with a rally on Wednesday on hopes that Wall Street had bottomed and the commodities rout was over, while the dollar also rose.

Major equity indexes around the world declined 10 percent or more from July through September as fears mounted of a global slowdown brought on by China. Slower Chinese growth also slammed commodity prices and countries that depend on their export.

European stocks turned in their worst quarter since the depths of the euro zone debt crisis, when regional indices such as the blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index slid 23.5 percent in the third quarter of 2011. The index rose 2.3 percent on Wednesday, but closed the quarter down 9.5 percent.

Analysts questioned the strength of the equity market’s rally, which was helped by a Chinese tax cut on small cars aimed at reviving sales in the world’s biggest auto market.

Peugot rose 6.4 percent and Fiat Chrysler rose 4.8 percent in Europe.

A sense of panic ebbed and more investors viewed the market as oversold, but many remained uncertain, said Brian Fenske, head of sales at ITG in New York.

    “I don’t think there was a real catalyst,” Fenske said of the day’s surge. “We’re getting a real snapback.”

Rick Meckler, president of hedge fund LibertyView Capital Management LLC in Jersey City, New Jersey, also cited the notion that the sell-off was over.

“You’re starting to see some of the first real buying at what’s really pretty dramatically reduced prices in some sectors,” Meckler said.

“Whether it can hold, that’s been the problem,” he said.

Major European indices rose more than 2 percent, and stocks on Wall Street jumped almost the same on a late-day surge. The FTSEuroFirst 300 index in Europe closed up 2.6 percent, while MSCI’s all-country world index rose 2.1 percent. For the quarter, the closely watched MSIC index fell 9.9 percent and the European index fell 9.2 percent.

Quarterly losses for U.S. stock indexes were less than for those in Europe or Asia.

For the day, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 235.57 points, or 1.47 percent, to 16,284.7. The S&P 500 rose 35.94 points, or 1.91 percent, to 1,920.03 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 102.84 points, or 2.28 percent, to 4,620.17.

The Nasdaq biotech index, which had skidded 13.5 percent over the past five days, rose 4.5 percent on Wednesday. It posted a 19.8 loss for the quarter.

Shares in mining and trading firm Glencore, which plummeted on Monday along with commodity prices, jumped 14.1 percent after it sought to reassure investors over its debt. Its shares had risen 17 percent on Tuesday.

The dollar got a lift from American private-sector jobs data, which bolstered bets on a U.S. interest rate hike by year’s end. The euro fell on a report euro zone inflation had turned negative.

U.S. private employers added 200,000 jobs in September, according to the ADP National Employment Report, beating forecasts and suggesting the Federal Reserve might be able to raise interest rates later this year.

The dollar index, a basket of major trading partner currencies, rose 0.43 percent for the day and was on track for a 0.8 percent gain for the three months ending Wednesday.

The euro fell against the dollar by 0.6 percent to $1.1176.

Euro zone prices fell by 0.1 percent on an annual basis in September after rising 0.1 percent last month, feeding speculation the European Central Bank will expand or extend its bond buying as the Fed prepares to raise rates.

U.S. government debt fell, but traders refrained from major bets ahead of Friday’s U.S. non-farm payrolls report for September, which may influence the Fed’s interest rate decision.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note rebounded 2/32 in price to yield 2.0438 percent.

The yield on German Bunds were steady at 0.59 percent.Oil prices were mixed in volatile trade, with global benchmark Brent up on worries about Russian airstrikes in Syria but U.S. crude down after data showed a surge in domestic inventories. [O/R]

Brent crude settled 14 cents higher at $48.37 a barrel, while U.S. crude fell 14 cents to settle at $45.09 a barrel. Both indices slid 24 percent over the third quarter.

The Thomson Reuters Jefferies CRB Index of 19 commodity prices pared gains to post a 0.10 percent rise, as the decline in U.S. crude weighed.

U.S. gold futures for December delivery were down $12.50 an ounce at $1,114.30. [GOL/]

Additional reporting by Jamie McGeever in London, reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Nick Zieminski, Diane Craft and David Gregorio

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