Wall Street’s main markets were eyeing a return to all-time highs yesterday after a raft of Chinese data beat expectations, easing concerns about the health of its economy.
Although Europe struggled to join in, MSCI’s 47-country world index was at a six-month high, benchmark bond yields shuffled up and the Australia dollar, which tends to be highly sensitive to China’s fortunes, did the same.
With Wall Street also digesting results from the likes of Morgan Stanley and US trade data, the Euro Stoxx 600 and German DAX inched higher by mid-afternoon, although London’s FTSE struggled as a near 5pc drop in iron ore prices hit its miners.
Moves in Asian share markets had been mostly modest too, in part because they had already rallied hard since the start of the year. World stocks are now up 20pc since late December.
Japan’s Nikkei closed up 0.25pc after hitting a five-month peak while the Shanghai Composite added 0.3pc to score its highest close since last March and extend a red-hot 2019 run that has seen it boom nearly 35pc.
Investors have been counting on better news from China and were not disappointed with first-quarter economic growth pipping forecast at 6.4pc.
The green shoots appearing in the world economy pushed benchmark government bond yields higher. US Treasury 10-year yields were up to 2.6pc and German Bund yields hit a four-week high, although at 0.1pc they are still barely above zero.
In currency markets, the euro edged up a touch to $1.1305, recovering from losses driven by a Reuters report that several European Central Bank policymakers think the bank’s economic projections are too optimistic.
Oil prices were buoyed again as fighting in Libya and falling Venezuelan and Iranian exports raised concerns over tightening global supply.
US crude was last up 43 cents at $64.44 a barrel, while Brent crude futures rose 32 cents to $72.03.
Meanwhile, shares in football giant Juventus had to be suspended as they dropped more than 20pc after the team was knocked out of the Champions League by Ajax. Shares in the Dutch club celebrated with an 8.5pc jump.