Global stocks climb, S&P hits record as concerns ease over North Korea, Irma

September 12, 2017
Samaa Web Desk

Global stocks rallied Monday, with Wall Street finishing at a fresh record, on receding worries about North Korea and Hurricane Irma, which caused less damage to the US than feared.

Bourses in Paris, Frankfurt, New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong all climbed one percent or more. The S&P 500 ended at a fresh record, bolstered by strength in insurance, financial and technology shares. The Bovespa index in Sao Paulo also ended at a new high.

Major gainers in the US included Apple, which jumped 1.8 percent ahead of a Tuesday event that is expected to launch the tech giant’s latest iPhone.

“The feeling is that the damage caused by Hurricane Irma in Florida was not nearly as bad as what was feared,” said Bill Lynch, director of investment at Hinsdale Associates.

After ripping through the Caribbean, killing at least 40 people, Hurricane Irma left millions without power in Florida and felled plenty of trees and traffic lights.

But the storm’s track took it further west than earlier forecasts suggested, sparing Miami and Orlando the worst of the storm and inflicting less damage overall than feared.

Experts estimated a total bill for Florida in the tens of billions of dollars instead of more than $100 billion that was feared.

The avoidance of a worst-case scenario for Irma also lifted the dollar against major currencies, especially the yen, which had been boosted by flight-to-safety traders worried about North Korea.

The greenback rose about 1.5 percent against the Japanese currency compared with Friday.

The dollar’s rise amounted to an “Irma relief rally,” said Kathy Lien, managing director at BK Asset Management

“Up until the very last moment when Irma barreled towards Florida as a Category 5 hurricane, everyone was bracing for the worst and while some Caribbean nations were devastated, Floridians were mostly spared extensive damage,” she said in a note.

Investors also had been concerned that Pyongyang could use a Saturday holiday to launch another missile, as it has done in the past. But that did not happen.

“Seeing as the North Korean regime didn’t show off its military might over the weekend, traders were encouraged to take on more risk,” said market analyst David Madden at CMC Markets UK.

The previous week saw a sell-off in risk assets sparked by Kim Jong-Un’s nuclear test, in turn benefiting haven assets such as gold, which retreated Monday.

– Key figures around 2050 GMT –

New York – DOW: UP 1.2 percent at 22,057.37 (close)

New York – S&P 500: UP 1.1 percent at 2,488.11 (close)

New York – Nasdaq: UP 1.1 percent at 6,432.26 (close)

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.5 percent at 7,413.59 (close)

Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 1.4 percent at 12,475.24 (close)

Paris – CAC 40: UP 1.2 percent at 5,176.71 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 1.3 percent at 3,491.83

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 1.4 percent at 19,545.77 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 1.0 percent at 27,955.13 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.3 percent at 3,376.42 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1200 from $1.2030 at 2115 GMT on Friday

Dollar/yen: UP at 109.47 yen from 107.83 yen

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3168 from $1.3196

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP 59 cents at $48.07 per barrel

Oil – Brent North Sea: UP 6 cents at $53.84 per barrel