US stocks hit one-month high on bank results

Reuters New York | Updated on January 17, 2019 Published on January 17, 2019

On Wall Street, results from Bank of America and Goldman Sachs eased worries about the earnings outlook   -  Reuters

Pound up on UK PM confidence vote

World stock markets rose with Wall Street's major indexes hitting one-month highs after strong earnings from Bank of America Corp and Goldman Sachs.

The pound rose after British Prime Minister Theresa May's government won a confidence vote in parliament.

May can now try to build consensus on an agreement on Britain's departure from the European Union (EU). The confidence vote followed the parliamentary defeat of May's Brexit deal on Tuesday.

Hopes for a softer Brexit, perhaps incorporating the Labour Party's idea of a customs union, gave some support to the pound.

“Sterling has jumped on the back of this because now we are looking at the possibilities of other parties coming to Theresa May and work with her on the issue of Brexit. The future path will be very much dependent on the promises she makes with cross parties,” Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets UK Ltd in London, wrote in a note following the vote.

Sterling was last trading at $1.2877, up 0.15 per cent on the day.

Stocks held their gains following the vote. MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.18 percent.

On Wall Street, results from Bank of America and Goldman Sachs eased worries about the earnings outlook and helped to support stocks. Bank of America shares were up 7.2 per cent while Goldman's stock was up 9.5 per cent.

“It's still way early, but so far the tone has been good,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.

“The fact that the banks are a little more sensitive certainly to interest rates and the yield curve and business activity, it gives a decent read on the economy.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 141.57 points, or 0.59 per cent, to 24,207.16, the S&P 500 gained 5.8 points, or 0.22 per cent, to 2,616.1 and the Nasdaq Composite added 10.86 points, or 0.15 percent, to 7,034.69.

Investors also digested a Wall Street Journal report that federal prosecutors are investigating Huawei Technologies, the world's largest telecommunications equipment maker, for allegedly stealing trade secrets from US businesses and could soon issue an indictment.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.54 per cent.

The dollar rose against the euro as the euro zone single currency was pushed lower by worries about the zone's economy, with the euro down 0.18 per cent to $1.1393.

Data this week showed Germany barely escaped a recession in the second half of 2018. On Tuesday, European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi warned the euro zone economy was weaker than anticipated.

US Treasury yields climbed as the confidence vote and stock market gains reduced safety bids on the bond market.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 6/32 in price to yield 2.7272 per cent, from 2.708 per cent late on Tuesday.

Oil prices also gained, boosted by the US equity market rally and a supply cut agreement by OPEC+.

Brent crude futures rose 68 cents to settle at $61.32 a barrel. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 20 cents to settle at $52.31 a barrel.

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Published on January 17, 2019
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