Oil gains on Kuwait strike; global shares highest since December
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices rose on Tuesday following a workers' strike in Kuwait, while a global stock index hit its highest level since early December as signs of economic stabilization in China lifted demand for riskier assets.
The rise in crude prices drove up the currencies of countries dependent on commodity exports, including Australia and Canada, where the local currency rose to 10-month and 9-month highs against the U.S. dollar, respectively.
Copper prices also jumped, and MSCI's emerging markets index rose 1.32 percent. Copper has been boosted in recent days by economic data showing a surge in new debt has fueled a recovery in industrial production and investment in China.
MSCI's all-country world index, which tracks stock performance in 46 countries, gained 1.07 percent, its highest level in five months.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading regional shares closed up 1.5 percent. Stocks in Japan and China also ended higher.
"The predominant theme is risk on," said Richard Scalone, co-head of foreign exchange at TJM Brokerage in Chicago.
"We came into the year concerned about Chinese growth and an aggressive (Federal Reserve), and we've gotten nothing even remotely similar to where our fears were."
U.S. stocks were mixed. The S&P 500 closed less than 2 percent from a record high in a session marked by rising energy stocks and a solid quarterly report from pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson. J&J rose 1.6 percent to $112.68. Continued...