Markets hit new highs boosted by China data
Global stocks have hit a new high for the year, boosted by better than expected export numbers from China and a strong performance by miners and bank stocks.
Wall Street's Dow Jones Industrial Average rose to a five month high. It gained 1.06 percent, or 187 points, to close at 17,908 points.
Investors were cheered by data showing China's trade numbers improved last month in US dollar terms.
China's exports rose 11.5 percent in March from the same period a year ago. That was a big turnaround from a fall of 25.4 percent in the February numbers.
China's imports were down, but not by as much as had been expected. Dollar-denominated imports fell 7.6 percent last month compared to the same time a year ago.
There was a rise of volumes for major commodities like copper and iron ore.
Those numbers prompted a rebound in Asia, with Japan's Nikkei index rising 2.84 percent and China's main index gaining 1.4 percent.
The New Zealand top 50 index yesterday hit another record, gaining 0.8 percent.
The main European index gained 2.5 percent, helped by a rally in mining stocks. Shares of Glencore and Rio Tinto soared over 6.5 percent each.
Germany's DAX rose 2.7 percent, London's FTSE was up 1.93 percent and France's CAC 40 surged 3.3 percent.
The S&P500 rose one percent to 2082 points and the tech heavy Nasdaq rallied 1.55 percent, finishing at 4947.
The rally on Wall Street was helped by banking giant JPMorgan Chase. Its profit result topped profit estimates and its share price closed 4.23 percent higher at US$61.70.
Bank of America rose 3.92 per cent and Citigroup gained 5.61 percent.
The China data and the JPMorgan result appeared to carry more weight with investors than a new report into US retail sales. They unexpectedly fell 0.3 per cent in March, missing estimates of a 0.1 per cent rise.
Crude oil hit a high for the year in intra-day trading, before giving up some gains. West Texas crude fell 1.4 percent to US$41.58 a barrel.
Brent oil lost 1.6 percent, trading at US$43.97.
The rally in oil prices reversed after investors started to question whether a potential production freeze (by Saudi Arabia and Russia) will actually do much to fix the glut in production.
Gold slipped from a three week high, trading at US$1244 per ounce.
The US dollar rose overnight against most currencies, but the New Zealand dollar held its ground better than most.
The Kiwi was trading at 69.21 US cents at 8am local time, down from 69.39 at 5pm yesterday..
The New Zealand dollar was sitting at 90.42 Australian cents and 48.72 British pence.