World stock markets climb on labor data, oil gains

Thu Aug 18, 2016 4:30pm EDT
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By Dion Rabouin

NEW YORK (Reuters) - World equity markets rose on Thursday, helped by a weaker dollar and surging oil prices that touched their highest in six weeks to lift energy sector stocks.

The U.S. dollar was near an eight-week low against major currencies in the wake of minutes from the Federal Reserve's July meeting published on Wednesday showing policymakers were unlikely to raise interest rates soon.

Key indexes on Wall Street edged up, aided by gains in the energy sector and by big-box retailer Wal-Mart that offset losses in the telecom sector. Wal-Mart rose as much as 3.1 percent to $75.19, a more than 14-month high, after the retailer posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 23.76 points, or 0.13 percent, to 18,597.7, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 4.8 points, or 0.22 percent, to 2,187.02 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 11.49 points, or 0.22 percent, to 5,240.15.

"The market has been Fed-driven so far; it is going through a phase where it will pivot from the Fed to more emphasis on companies growing their revenues," said Thomas Wilson, managing director of Wealth Advisory at Brinker Capital, in Berwyn, Pa.

Energy stocks provided the biggest sector boost. Brent crude LCOc1 prices rose to their highest since July 4 as the world's biggest producers prepared to discuss a possible freeze in production levels.

Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will meet on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum in Algeria on Sept. 26-28.

Brent last traded at $50.82 a barrel, up nearly 2 percent on the day. U.S. light crude oil CLc1 was up about 3 percent at $48.23.   Continued...

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., August 17, 2016.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid