Euro gains on Irish debt crisis hopes, oil falls

NEW YORK - Hopes Ireland’s debt crisis will soon be resolved lifted investor sentiment and the euro on Friday even as US oil prices slid after China sought to curb inflation for the second time in two weeks.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Sat 20 Nov 2010, 4:14 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 9:48 AM

Wall Street rebounded late in the session, pulling along global stocks, on a rally in semiconductors. But the broad US market finished just below a key psychological level, a sign shares could trade in a tight range through year’s end.

The euro rose for a third straight day against the dollar and gold prices were little changed just above $1,350 an ounce on growing confidence a financial aid plan for Ireland will be unveiled next week, according to European Union sources.

Hopes that Ireland was near a deal to get tens of billions of euros from its European partners and the International Monetary Fund helped push the euro above $1.37 overnight. But momentum stalled as traders awaited further details.

The euro was up 0.25 percent at $1.378.

Experts warned an Irish bailout may not be enough to prevent contagion to other euro zone members.

“The sense of calm that has returned today and yesterday is taking away any safe-haven bid that may have emanated from the potential crisis,” said Tom Pawlicki, a precious metals and energy analyst of MF Global.

MSCI’s all-country world stock index rose about 0.1 percent, while its emerging markets index gained almost the same.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 22.32 points, or 0.20 percent, at 11,203.55. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 3.04 points, or 0.25 percent, at 1,199.73. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 3.72 points, or 0.15 percent, at 2,518.12.

Analysts said if the benchmark S&P 500 fails to break above the 1,200 mark, stocks could struggle to move much higher until the beginning of next year.

Sentiment indicators on Wall Street have grown too bullish, and stocks could be in a pullback or trading range “until we get the optimism worked off and some pessimism built up,” said William Delwiche, an investment strategist at Robert W. Baird & Co in Nashville, Tennessee.

The raising of banking reserve requirements in China to tighten the economy kept bullion under pressure and led crude prices to fall on concerns it will reduce demand in the world’s second-largest consumer of oil.

The move by the People’s Bank of China raised speculation a hike in interest rates was in the works. US oil prices fell, logging their biggest weekly decline in two months.

US crude for December delivery settled down 34 cents at $81.51 on the contract’s last day. US January crude settled down 44 cents to $81.98 a barrel.

In London, Brent crude for January delivery settled down 71 cents to $84.34 a barrel.

US gold futures for December delivery settled down 70 cents at $1,352.30.

US Treasuries were steady to higher, ending a volatile week, as the market consolidated at higher yields reached in recent weeks ahead of new supply.

Thirty-year bonds, meanwhile, rose as the Federal Reserve purchased long-dated debt as part its $600 billion program, known as QE2. The market also benefited from a bid as hedges relating to municipal bond sales were removed.

The 30-year US Treasury bond was up 23/32 in price to yield 4.24 percent. The benchmark 10-year US Treasury note was up 7/32 in price to yield 2.88 percent.

“People are buying on dips,” said Laura LaRosa, director of fixed income with Glenmede in Philadelphia.

Asian stock markets were mixed, with MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan index down 0.1 percent and Japan’s Nikkei average up 0.1 percent.

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