Santa Rally Slays Records

A Santa rally rode through European and US stock markets on Friday, with Wall Street pushing further into record territory.

At the opening bell, all of the Wall Street’s three main indices pushed off record closes and into new intra-day heights.

All were still up in late morning trading.

US stocks have been striking new records in recent days — the tech-heavy Nasdaq setting a 10th straight on Thursday and its first finish above 9,000 points.

While equity markets often rise during the thin trading when many investors are off for the holidays — a so-called Santa rally — this year there has also been a steady stream of good news about the United States and China moving to resolve their trade war.

Sentiment on Thursday was boosted by a report by Mastercard Spending Plus estimating that US holiday shopping sales rose by a better-than-expected 3.4 percent this year, with e-commerce taking a bigger bite of overall sales.

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US consumers’ “willingness to open the purse strings has offset declining business investment in the face of the trade war and economic uncertainty”, said Stephen Innes, chief Asia market strategist at AxiTrader.

The holiday spending results added to the positive sentiment across trading floors following the US-China trade thaw, and the expectation that the “phase one” deal between Washington and Beijing will be finalised next month.

“Trade optimism remains a key support for the markets, along with some signs that global economic growth may be stabilising, buoyed by today’s upbeat Chinese industrial profits report,” said analysts at Charles Schwab brokerage.

European stock markets, which were open for the first time since the Christmas holiday, also advanced. London’s blue chip FTSE 100 ended the day up 0.2 percent, Frankfurt’s DAX 30 rose 0.3 percent and the CAC 40 in Paris edged 0.1 percent higher.

Asian stock markets closed mixed, with Hong Kong the major winner, adding 1.3 percent.

Elsewhere Friday, both main oil contracts climbed on US-China trade hopes and sustained demand, analysts said.

“Optimism about trade helped the outlook for global growth and with it the demand for oil while the US consumer is showing few signs of tightening their purse strings, which is positive for oil also,” added analyst Innes.

– Key figures around 1630 GMT –

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 7,644.90 points (close)

Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.3 percent at 13,337.11 (close)

Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.1 percent at 6,037.39 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.2 percent at 3,781.68

New York – Dow: UP 0.2 percent at 28,686.80

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.4 percent at 23,837.72 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 1.3 percent at 28,225.42 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.1 percent at 3,005.04 (close)


Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3095 from $1.2993 at 2200 GMT

Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.34 pence from 85.41 pence

Euro/dollar: UP at 1.1175 from $1.1098

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 109.49 from 109.63

Brent Crude: UP 0.4 percent at $68.16 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.1 percent at $61.74 per barrel


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