NEW YORK — Major global and U.S. stock indices set fresh all-time highs on Friday, buoyed by a bright business outlook and strong corporate earnings, while the economy's strength in continental Europe lifted the euro to a two-month high against the U.S. dollar.
Gains in Amazon.com (AMZN.O), Facebook (FB.O) and Broadcom (AVGO.O) lifted the S&P 500, Nasdaq Composite and MSCI all-country world index to closing record highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also closed higher, but did not set a record.
Wall Street closed early, a day after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, which marks the start of a year-end shopping season that has increasingly gone online.
Black Friday sales got off to a strong start online at US$640 million of 10 a.m. ET, according to Adobe Analytics, up 18.4 per cent from a year ago. On Thursday, U.S. shoppers spent more than US$2.87 billion online.
Earlier in Europe, German business confidence hit a record high in November, a sign the region's largest economy is on track for a boom, the Ifo economic institute said.
The Ifo survey helped allay concerns about the recent failure of forming a new German government and came a day after surveys of Europe's services and manufacturing industries beat the most optimistic forecasts in Reuters polls.
The strong outlook from Europe led the euro to post a third straight week of gains against the U.S. dollar, its best run since July. The single currency rose 0.61 per cent to US$1.1922.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of regional shares closed down 0.12 per cent, as strong gains in financials were off-set by heavy losses in health care.
However, several major European country indices, including France's CAC 40, Germany's DAX and Spain's IBEX, all advanced.
MSCI's all-country world index of equity markets in 47 countries rose 0.25 per cent.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 31.81 points, or 0.14 per cent, to 23,557.99. The S&P 500 gained 5.34 points, or 0.21 per cent, to 2,602.42 and the Nasdaq Composite added 21.80 points, or 0.32 per cent, to 6,889.16.
The S&P 500 so far this year has gained 16 per cent, while the Nasdaq is up 28 per cent.
The U.S. dollar index fell to its lowest since Sept. 26 at 92.675 and the Japanese yen weakened 0.31 per cent versus the greenback at 111.55 per U.S. dollar.
The index suffered its worst single-day decline in more than five months on Wednesday after minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting showed some policy makers are concerned about stubbornly weak U.S. inflation.
Underlying dynamics point to a weaker U.S. dollar medium term, said BMO Capital Markets currency strategist Stephen Gallo, in London.
"When you have firm global risk appetite, pretty firm global growth conditions including in the euro zone and firm global commodity prices, there isn’t a lot of — if any — safe-haven demand for [U.S.] dollars," Gallo said.
U.S. Treasury yields rose slightly but stayed within a tight range they have held for the past week-and-a-half as investors focused on the subdued inflation outlook which has helped the yield curve to its flattest levels in a decade.
The benchmark 10-year note fell 5/32 in price to yield 2.3401 per cent.
U.S. light crude hit US$58.92 a barrel, a more than two-year high, before easing to settle up 93 cents US at US$58.95.
Brentrose 31 cents US to settle at US$63.86.
U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled down US$4.90 at US$1,287.30 per ounce.