World Stocks Hold Strong To Hit 16-Month High

stocksWorld stocks appear ready to make notable gains this week to hold at a near 16-month high with the Euro steadying after swings through the European Central Bank’s decision to put an end to its most recent stimulus program.

The MSCI World Index inched up just 0.1 percent today and is on track for a total gain of about 2.7 percent. However, this is also just 0.1 percent shy of Thursday’s high, which had actually reached its highest level since August of last year.

Eaton Vance director of global equity, Christopher Dyer comments, “Banks have had the double benefit of expectations for lower taxes [in the U.S.] and higher interest rates. We’ve been trimming our exposure at the margin, because we think much of the good news is already priced in.”

Accordingly, the ECB had said it would cut its monthly asset buys to 60 billion Euros (approximately $63.68 billion), as of April, which is down from its present 80 billion euros. They have also extended purchases to December—from March—which is three months longer than what many analysts had originally forecast.

This gain has bled over to US markets with the financial companies in the S&P 500 performing better than others, this week up about 4 percent. While they did also retreat, slightly, down 0.7 percent—and European Stoxx Banks Index down 1.4 percent—on Friday they held by the end of the week at just more than 11 percent.

Strategists at UBS also note, “At first sight, this would have seemed to be a hawkish move, but ECB President Draghi managed to package this decision with dovish commentary, by stressing that the ECB stands ready to increase or extend QE if needed and that tapering wasn’t discussed and is ’not in sight’.”

At the end of the day, then the dollar closed out slightly stronger approaching next week’s Federal Reserve meeting than had been originally expected; and at a time when it is widely expected the bank will raise interest rates. This even had influence over Asian currencies, which mostly sold off: the Korean yuan and the Japanese yen weakening against the rising dollar.

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