Wednesday, 8 May 2013

US stocks hit new records, Japanese stocks at five-year high

US stock indices rose to new record highs on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing above 15,000 for the first time ever after rising 0.6 percent to 15,056.20. The S&P 500 rose 0.5 percent to close at 1,625.96.

In Japan, investors came back from a holiday to push the Nikkei 225 up 3.6 percent on Tuesday to 14,180.24, its highest close since June 2008.

Markets got a lift early in the day after the Reserve Bank of Australia cut its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to a record low of 2.75 percent, continuing the worldwide trend towards easier monetary policy.

Easier monetary policy has lifted not just stock prices but house prices as well. US home prices rose 1.9 percent in March, a report from CoreLogic showed on Tuesday. Prices rose 10.5 percent from a year ago, the biggest year-over-year increase in seven years.

Easier monetary conditions have also reduced Europe's sovereign debt concerns. A sale of 10-year Portuguese government bonds on Tuesday attracted demand for more than three times the amount targeted for sale.

However, Europe's economy has shown few signs of a recovery, with Tuesday's data coming out mixed. While German factory orders jumped 2.2 percent in March, the same amount of increase as in February, French industrial orders fell 0.9 percent in March, reversing a 0.8 percent increase in February.

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