Global stocks at 3-month highs, euro underperforms

Fri Oct 28, 2011 7:03am EDT
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By Anirban Nag

LONDON (Reuters) - Global stocks advanced and headed for their best week in over two years Friday, bolstered by EU leaders' efforts to contain the euro zone debt crisis which have stoked appetite for riskier assets, although the euro lagged the rally.

The single currency came under slight pressure after yields at the sale of 10-year Italian bonds hit a euro-era high above 6 percent. Despite higher yields, demand was lower than previous auctions, underlining how cautious investors are on peripheral debt despite the EU rescue deal and pledges by Italy to reform.

With investors for the time being shrugging off the lack of detail in Thursday's anti-crisis measures in Europe, the region's shares extended the previous session's sharp rally.

The FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of leading European shares was up 0.15 percent at 1,021.63 points in early trade. The index is up 11 percent this month and is on track for its biggest monthly rise since April 2009.

Solid third-quarter sales from French car maker Renault (RENA.PA: Quote) also lifted the broader index. Banking shares , which have been battered by contagion fears from a possible Greek default, advanced 1.8 percent, extending their 8.9 percent surge Thursday.

World stocks as measured by the MSCI index rose 0.4 percent to 319.09 -- having hit the highest level in nearly three months of 319.78 earlier in the day.

U.S. stock index futures pointed to some signs that the stock market euphoria was flagging. Futures for the S&P 500, the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq 100 were all down 0.4 to 0.5 percent.

Fredrik Nerbrand, global head of asset allocation at HSBC, said the lack of details out of the European summit was causing some discomfort to investors.   Continued...

<p>A trader reacts at his desk at the Frankfurt stock exchange October 27, 2011. REUTERS/Alex Domanski</p>