Gold near 4-month highs

BlackRock's Koesterich Says Equities Can Go Higher

BlackRock's Koesterich Says Equities Can Go Higher

Asian stocks resumed their ascent on Friday, supported by USA earnings optimism and a rise in oil prices while the euro edged higher as the European Central Bank (ECB) signalled an end to its massive stimulus.

Palladium rose by 0.23 percent to $1,085.50 an ounce after hitting a nine-day low of $1,075.50. The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone blue chip stocks decreased 0.40 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major United Kingdom companies, lost 0.33 percent. Further signs of progress in negotiations will likely support Euro trade.

Hit by the strong euro, the dollar index - which measures the USA currency against a basket of six major rivals - slipped 0.6 percent to its weakest in four months, at 91.329.DXY.

The minutes from the ECB's December meeting said the central bank should revisit its communication stance in early 2018 and gradually adjust its language to reflect improved growth prospects.

The ECB has pledged to continue its bond purchase program at least until September, and investors expect any rate hike to take place only next year. The dollar weakened more broadly after USA data showed a rise in jobless claims and a decrease in producer prices.

On Thursday, U.S. producer price data showed the index fell for the first time in almost 1 ½ years in December, which could temper expectations that inflation will accelerate in 2018. The index rose 1.6 percent in the week and is now higher by 4.2 percent in January.

Against the yen, the dollar hit a six-week low of 111.00 yen.

The S&P energy index jumped 2 percent, leading gains among S&P sectors. The Canadian dollar was last trading flat at C$1.2525 to the greenback. Economists had expected prices to rise by 0.2 percent.

Sterling was up 1.43 percent to $1.3729. Yet it still suggested consumer spending had made a sizeable contribution to economic growth for the fourth quarter as a whole, after a disappointing third quarter.

The Euro jumped against the dollar following the release of the European Central Bank minutes.

World stocks scaled fresh peaks on Friday while the euro hit a three-year high and Bund yields rose as progress on forming a German government gave fresh impetus to a bond market sell-off triggered by signs the European Central Bank may accelerate an end to its stimulus.

The S&P 500 rose 0.7 percent to 2,786.12 at 4 NY.

Treasury yields fell on Thursday after China disputed a report that its government officials had recommended the country slow or halt its purchases of USA bonds.

The 10-year yield eased back to 2.56% after a healthy auction of Treasurys on Wednesday.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.5 percent to the lowest in more than 16 weeks on the largest fall in more than a week.

Fiat Chrysler shares (FCA.MI) in Milan rose 2.8% after the company said late Thursday it plans to invest $1 billion to shift production ( of its profitable Ram Heavy Duty trucks to Michigan from Mexico.

New Zealand's currency was also boosted by higher commodity prices, with Brent Crude oil rising above US$70 a barrel for the first time since 2014.

It dropped again as the session wore on but was still close to five-month highs at 0.52 percent.

And while the U.S. Federal Reserve has been slowly tightening policy over the last two years, traders have been repricing market expectations of when Europe and Japan will follow suit.

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