Markets relieved,but cautious on outlook

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares closed up 0.2 per cent at 1,268.09 points.

New York | Published: October 18, 2013 4:06 am

US stocks rose on Thursday as investors assessed the ramifications of an agreement by lawmakers in Washington to raise the US debt ceiling and end the partial shutdown of the government.

The political wrangling has led some investors to believe the US Federal Reserve will have no choice but to leave its fiscal stimulus measures in place for at least several months as the damage caused to the economy becomes apparent.

The Dow,however,was dragged lower by IBM’s shares hitting a two-year low a day after reporting weaker than expected revenue. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 35.48 points or 0.23 per cent,to 15,338.35,the S&P 500 gained 7.97 points or 0.46 per cent,to 1,729.51 and the Nasdaq Composite added 17.334 points or 0.45 per cent,to 3,856.765.

Meanwhile,European shares inched higher on Thursday,steadying after a recent sharp rally,as investors shifted their focus onto corporate news following an eleventh-hour deal in Washington to avert a US debt default.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares closed up 0.2 per cent at 1,268.09 points,having surged more than 3 per cent in the past week on expectations the US Congress would reach a deal before the October 17 deadline. The euro zone’s blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index was down 0.2 per cent at 3,010.39 points,retreating from a 2-1/2 year high hit on Wednesday.

“We’ve got a bit of relief that it’s all out of the way but we’re still going to have to revisit it in two or three months’ time,” CMC Markets senior market analyst Michael Hewson said. The Euro STOXX 50 Volatility index,Europe’s widely-used gauge of investor sentiment,dropped 9.5 per cent on Thursday to hit a three-week low. Earlier,Asian stocks fared better as they responded to the previous day’s broad rallies in the US and Europe. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.8 per cent to 14,586.51 while Seoul’s Kospi gained 0.3 per cent to 2,040.61. Hong Kong’s rally faded and the Hang Seng fell 0.6 per cent at 23,094.88.

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