US stocks have best week since Jan­uary

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - BUSINESS & FINANCE -

U.S. stocks capped the best week since Jan­uary, with the S&P 500 In­dex climb­ing above 2,500 for the first time, as in­vestors showed re­silience in the face of a North Korean mis­sile test. The dol­lar weak­ened af­ter an un­ex­pected de­cline in Au­gust re­tail sales raised con­cern over the econ­omy’s strength.

In­vestors largely shrugged off the lat­est rise in ten­sions on the Korean penin­sula and a ter­ror­ist at­tack in Lon­don, with haven as­sets from the yen to gold de­clin­ing. The S&P 500 took the round-num­ber mile­stone in the fi­nal min­utes of trad­ing to end the week with a 1.6 per­cent ad­vance. The Dow Jones Industrial Av­er­age also closed at a record. The green­back pared its big­gest weekly gain since Fe­bru­ary as the Bank of Eng­land’s hawk­ish shift bol­stered the pound.

With eco­nomic themes back in the fore­ground, mar­kets are show­ing signs of be­com­ing con­di­tioned to provoca­tive ac­tions from North Korea, which has launched more than a dozen mis­siles this year and tested a nu­clear de­vice. The Au­gust de­cline in sales and down­ward re­vi­sions to the prior months make it more likely that con­sump­tion, the big­gest part of the econ­omy, will be hard-pressed to match the 3.3 per­cent growth pace of the prior quar­ter.

Oil had its big­gest weekly gain since late July as Texas re­finer­ies re­cov­er­ing from Hur­ri­cane Har­vey pro­cessed more crude and global de­mand fore­casts bright­ened.

The Paris-based IEA said on Wed­nes­day it ex­pects global de­mand to climb this year by the most since 2015 while the Or­ga­ni­za­tion of Pe­tro­leum Ex­port­ing Coun­tries and its part­ners were said to be dis­cussing an ex­ten­sion of its deal to cut out­put be­yond its March ex­pi­ra­tion.

In­vestors had been shift­ing funds from U.S. eq­ui­ties to stock mar­kets in Europe, Ja­pan and emerg­ing mar­kets. A net $4.7 bil­lion has been taken out of U.S. eq­uity funds since the be­gin­ning of the year, while European stocks are sit­ting on an in­flow of $31.7 bil­lion and Ja­panese eq­ui­ties $36.4 bil­lion.

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