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Global Stocks Continue to Push Higher

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01/03/2018 | 09:48am CET
By Kenan Machado and Mike Bird 

Global equity markets extended recent gains Wednesday, with European and Asian stocks tracing the tech-driven advances taking U.S. stocks to fresh records.

As European markets opened, the Stoxx Europe 600 index rose by another 0.4%, with a 0.7% rise in European technology sector.

U.S. equity futures continued to rise, with the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average up by 0.1% and 0.2% respectively.

A surge in tech stocks sent the Nasdaq Composite index above 7,000 for the first time on Tuesday.

The U.S. dollar steadied after falling for a seventh-straight session, according to the WSJ Dollar Index, rising 0.1% against a basket of international currencies. But the greenback remains near its lowest levels in over three months.

The euro dipped 0.2% to $1.204 in early European trading, after hitting its highest New York closing price in three years Tuesday. Some investors expect the euro to continue strengthening on the back of unexpectedly strong economic conditions.

"Europe continues to enjoy the most important growth acceleration that we've seen in over a decade," said Alessio DeLongis, portfolio manager at OppenheimerFunds.

"We think it's an environment that's conducive to inflows into Europe, into equities particularly, and therefore into the euro," he added.

Leading Asia-Pacific equities Wednesday morning was China, where stocks outside of the biggest companies badly lagged behind 2017's global rally. The country's Shenzhen A-share index was up by around 0.8% as trading began in Europe.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was up 0.1% after having earlier touched a fresh 10-year intraday high.

Japanese markets open for their first 2018 day of trading on Thursday.

Overall, investors appear to be seeking value in Asian stocks, according to an analysis by Instinet, with increased buying of companies with low price-to-earnings multiples. On that basis, the region's equities are generally cheaper than in Europe or the U.S.

The Taiex in Taiwan, where many Apple suppliers are based, climbed 0.9% to hit a fresh five-week high. South Korean giant Samsung Electronics rose 1.2%, helping the benchmark Kospi gain 0.3%.

Fresh intraday records were seen Wednesday in New Zealand, Thailand and the Philippines--the latter two strengthening 1% and 2% respectively.

Bitcoin has maintained its overnight rebound to $15,000, according to price data from CoinDesk, fueled by Silicon Valley venture-capital firm Founders Fund making a big bullish bet on the cryptocurrency. It briefly fell below $13,000 in Asian trading Tuesday.

Write to Kenan Machado at [email protected] and Mike Bird at [email protected]

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