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Stocks boosted by bullish data as Harvey worries subside

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by August 31, 2017 General
AFP / Bryan R. SmithPositive US economic data and growing doubts the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates for a third time this year, pushed all three major stock indexes higher at the closing bell, and the NASDAQ hit a new record

Global stocks posted healthy gains on Thursday, freed from burdensome worries about North Korean missiles and devastated oil production in Texas.

The rebound was aided by bullish economic data in Washington and comments from the US Treasury Secretary that corporate tax cuts could still come down the pike in 2017.

In New York, gains on all three major indices meant they turned positive for the month of August, with the Nasdaq rising a full percentage point to set a new record close.

“We’ll see what happens tomorrow as we turn the calendar over to September,” Art Hogan of Wunderlich Securities told AFP, noting that official figures on job creation were due to be published Friday.

“That will get a lot of attention except it’s a Friday before a long weekend.”

– Will US jobs disappoint ? –

Meanwhile the Commerce Department published fresh data showing US inflation remained tame, inviting speculation that the Federal Reserve may refrain from raising interest rates for a third time this year, which would delight investors.

“So, it is now all down to Friday’s official nonfarm payrolls report,” said market analyst Fawad Razaqzada at Forex.com.

“If this shows further strength in the labor market and another rise in wages then calls for a December rate rise may increase, triggering further dollar buying interest.

“Conversely, a very weak jobs report may have the opposite effect,” he said.

Across the Atlantic, gains were likewise robust: London closed 0.9 percent higher, followed by a 0.6 percent gain in Paris and 0.4 percent in Frankfurt.

But one notable heavy loss among individual companies was French supermarket giant Carrefour. Its share price dived 13 percent in Paris after the group published disappointing results for the first half and warned of a drop in earnings for the whole year.

In Asian trading, the weak yen supported Japanese exporters, with Tokyo’s Nikkei ending 0.7 percent higher, while Sydney added 0.8 percent and Singapore gained 0.5 percent. Wellington and Taipei were also higher.

However, Shanghai dipped 0.1 percent as official figures showed a rise in Chinese factory activity in August but not strong enough to ease concerns about the world’s number two economy, which is growing at its slowest pace in more than a quarter of a century.

Hong Kong eased 0.4 percent, with profit-takers also moving in after enjoying six days of gains in the previous seven trading days.

– Key figures around 2100 GMT –

New York – Dow: UP 0.3 percent at 21,948.10 (close)

New York – S&P 500: UP 0.6 percent at 2,471.65 (close)

New York – Nasdaq: UP one percent at 6,428.66 (close)

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.9 percent at 7,430.62 points (close)

Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.4 percent at 12,055.84 (close)

Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.6 percent at 5,085.59 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.5 percent at 3,421.47 (close)

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.7 percent at 19,646.24 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.4 percent at 27,970.30 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.1 percent at 3,360.81 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP to $1.1910 from $1.1882 at 2100 GMT on Wednesday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2932 from $1.2924

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 109.97 yen from 110.29 yen

Oil – Brent North Sea: UP $1.52 at $52.38 per barrel

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP $1.27 at $47.23

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