U.S. recovery hopes drive developed stocks

By @ibtimes on

Developed market stocks climbed on Thursday on hopes for renewed U.S. economic growth, although the dollar and emerging markets steadied, unwilling to push a rally further ahead of more data on Friday.

Upbeat sentiment after strong U.S. private-sector jobs numbers on Wednesday helped keep oil above $90 a barrel.

But emerging market stocks were flat to weaker, bucking a trend in which they usually outperform their developed market counterparts on up days. The dollar was flat against a basket of major currencies <.DXY>.

U.S. private employers added 297,000 jobs in December, ADP Employer Services said, a figure that was nearly three times what economists had forecast and the biggest jump on record for ADP, which has data going back to 2000.

Jobs are often a lagging indicator of economic health and an improvement can show that recovery is becoming more sustainable. The ADP numbers raised expectations for Friday's non-farm payrolls figures -- traditionally the month's major release.

The data that we have seen up to November has been pretty solid but one thing that has been lagging is the employment market in the U.S. and there is a feeling that to really underpin the recovery, the job market needs to turnaround, said Giles Watts, head of equities at City Index.

World stocks as measured by MSCI <.MIWD00000PUS> were up 0.3 percent, mainly on the back of gains in Japan and Europe. Emerging markets stocks <.MSCIEF> were flat to lower, hurt by losses on Shanghai.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> was up 0.6 percent for a more than 2.4 percent rise in the very short year-to-date.

Japan's Nikkei <.N22%> stormed to an eight-month closing high, up 1.4 percent for a nearly 3 percent gain in three sessions.

DOLLAR STEADY

The dollar steadied after a surge in the previous session.

The market expects a significantly strong figure for Friday's payrolls, but they could be overestimating. So there is scope for disappointment, said Lee Hardman, currency economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.

The ADP report drove a 1.5 percent gain against the yen for the dollar on Wednesday, its biggest one-day rise in more than three months, although dollar-selling by Japanese exporters tempered gains.

It was down 0.2 pct on Thursday at 83.05 yen.

The euro eased 0.2 percent to $1.3123.

Core euro zone government debt opened lower, hurt by the robust data.

Spanish newspaper El Pais reported that China's Vice Premier Li Keqiang signaled at a meeting during a visit to Madrid that his country is willing to buy about 6 billion euros of Spanish public debt.

(Additional reporting by Tamawa Desai and Harpreet Bhal; editing by Patrick Graham)

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