Global stocks march higher as US-Iran tensions ease

Planet Labs Inc./Middlebury Institute of International Studies

Planet Labs Inc./Middlebury Institute of International Studies

Stocks surged Wednesday after President Trump addressed the nation about Iran attacking US forces at two Iraqi bases.

It caused a relief rally across equity markets and sent United States stocks to new record highs in yesterday's session, with the S&P 500 gaining 0.67% overnight.

On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 211.81 points, or 0.74 per cent, to 28,956.90.

The S&P 500 posted 58 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 106 new highs and nine new lows.

Oil prices rebounded Thursday after first surging on news of the Iranian attack and then falling back once tensions appeared to be easing.

A USA drone struck a convoy at Baghdad International Airport last Friday, killing Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani, sparking outrage and revenge threats from Tehran.

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The spotlight will next move to Friday's labor report, and economists expect it to show employers added 160,000 jobs last month. Futures for the Nasdaq 100 index gained 36.25 points to 9,045.25.

"The main market driver right now is the generally improving macroeconomic backdrop and most other things are a distraction from that overriding theme", Michael Reynolds, investment strategy officer at Glenmede, said by phone.

The S&P 500 banks index was down 0.2 per cent.

Investors will likely now turn their attention to the nonfarm jobs report due Friday.

The S&P 500 energy index was trading more than 1 per cent lower, while the rest of the S&P sectors were trading higher.

The S&P 500 is up 30.50, or 0.9%.

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YIELDS: The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.85% from 1.87% late Wednesday. Japan's Nikkei lost 1.6 percent, China's Shanghai Composite fell 1.2 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.8 percent. However, he added "the concern is that the market turns even more parabolic from there".

West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.1% to $59.67 a barrel.Gold dropped 0.3% to $1,555.70 an ounce.

In Europe, Germany's DAX led the advance, up 0.7 percent, while France's CAC was higher by 0.3 percent.

U.S. stocks hovered near all-time highs on Friday, as easing West Asia tensions and gains in popular technology stocks offset concerns about slower-than-expected December jobs growth in the United States.

Tom Holland, an analyst with investor advisory firm Gavekal Research, noted that global oil prices surged immediately after the Iranian missile strike but receded in later hours. It would eventually settle down 5.4% at 12.72. J.C. Penney and Kohl's were lower after reporting their holiday sales slumped.

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