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Global markets' longest winning run in 14 yrs threatened as Nikkei dips 2%

MSCI's all-country equity index is clocking year-to-date gains of almost 19%

Reuters  |  London 

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Another impressive record for world stocks was hanging in the balance on Thursday, as a late blow-out in Japan and a subdued start in Europe threatened to spoil the longest winning streak for MSCI's global since 2003.

Japan's saw a 2 per cent swing down after hitting its highest since 1992 and most of Europe's main bourses drifted in and out of the red after mixed earnings and as talks resumed with low expectations in Brussels.

There were a series of ECB speeches and what should be buoyant new growth forecasts due later from the European Commission, though bond were mostly quiet following a rally this week in benchmark US Treasuries and Bunds.

Germany's 10-year bond yield edged up for the first time in over a week and the euro and pound were both higher as the long-running saga of US tax reforms weighed on the dollar.

Oil and Middle Eastern stock and bond also steadied after a nervy few days caused by a purge of royals and top officials by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince.

"The stock market has run out of a little momentum since the blow-out on the (Japanese) topix so it feels like it's temporarily paused," said Societe Generale strategist Kit Juckes.

"We are waiting for some news from the Republicans on the tax plans, there is a bond market that has stalled and we've got rather soggy looking emerging .. We probably need to get US Treasury yields higher to get things going again."

MSCI's all-country equity is clocking year-to-date gains of almost 19 per cent.

But as a measure of relative calm of the current bull market and a reflection of the low volatility environment that has dominated all year, none of the latest 11 daily gains have exceeded half a percent and more than half of them were less than 0.1 per cent.

Among currencies, the New Zealand dollar was the day's big mover, surging about 1 per cent to a two-week high of $0.6974 before dipping to trade at $0.6956.

The kiwi soared after the (RBNZ) said the country's fiscal stimulus and the currency's recent fall would lead to faster inflation and likely an earlier rise in interest rates.

On Thursday, the central bank held rates steady at 1.75 per cent, as widely expected.

Taxing Times

The dollar against a basket of six major currencies was 0.1 per cent lower at 94.803 meanwhile, as it drifted further from the three-month high of 95.150 set in late October.

A US Senate tax-cut bill, differing from one already in the House of Representatives, was expected to be unveiled on Thursday, complicating a Republican tax overhaul push and increasing scepticism on Wall Street about the effort.

Some also focused on fallout from Democrat wins in regional US elections this week as signal for next year's mid-term Congressional elections for US President Donald Trump.

"There's very much a risk of disappointment. The US dollar could go through a weakening phase on the back of uncertainty around that tax reform," said Steven Dooley, currency strategist for Western Union Business Solutions in Melbourne.

In commodity markets, Brent and US crude oil futures were little changed at $63.49 and $56.82 a barrel respectively, having hit two-year highs earlier in the week following a 40 per cent surge since July.

US data showing a rise in domestic crude production had weighed on sentiment overnight but the Middle East uncertainty in Saudi Arabia limited the losses.

Gold added 0.2 per cent to $1,283.45 an ounce after rising to a three-week high of $1,287.13 an ounce the previous day.

Palladium hovered near a 16-year high of $1,019 while nickel fell by more than 2 per cent in London to its weakest since October as hype over potential electric vehicle demand that has been driving it higher eased.

The nickel market had been ignoring downside risks from policy developments in supply Indonesia and the Philippines, and instead focusing on potential future demand from electric vehicle batteries, said Morgan Stanley in a report.

"We (have) heard little to alter our view that producing NiSO (nickel sulphate) isn't particularly challenging/costly and we see near-term downside risk to price," it said.

First Published: Thu, November 09 2017. 16:33 IST
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