NEW YORK, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Global stocks and the euro
gained on Friday on signs of progress in talks on releasing aid
to Greece and after an influential German survey found business
sentiment had improved in Europe's largest economy.
U.S. stocks rose for a fifth day, getting a lift from
bellwether technology shares such as Intel and
Microsoft, both up about 2 percent. An index of
semiconductor stocks gained 1.8 percent, while the S&P
information technology sector index rose 1.6 percent.
Trading on Wall Street ended early after markets were closed
Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday. With many investors still
on holiday on Friday, volume was low. About 2.8 billion shares
traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and the NYSE
MKT, compared with the daily average for the year to date of 6.5
The light volume exacerbated moves, and shares of big-cap
technology companies climbed as investors took advantage of the
day's upward momentum to add to their positions.
"Anyone that was on the sidelines waiting for a pullback
like the one we just had in some of the tech names, they're
looking for any glimpse of strong price action for 'permission'
to enter into those (stocks)," said Todd Salamone, director of
research at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati, Ohio
Microsoft helped lift the Nasdaq, gaining 2.8 percent to
$27.70, while Apple Inc rose 1.7 percent to $571.50.
From mid-September to mid-November, the S&P tech sector
shed about 13 percent as the broader market also
Research In Motion surged on optimism about its
soon-to-be-launched BlackBerry 10 devices, which will vie
against Apple's iPhone and Android-based smartphones.
RIM was up 13.6 percent at $11.66.
Friday also marked the start of the holiday shopping season
and gave investors a reason to scoop up retailers' shares on
hopes that consumers will go out to spend en masse.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 172.79
points, or 1.35 percent, at 13,009.68. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was up 18.10 points, or 1.30 percent, at 1,409.13.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 40.30 points, or 1.38
percent, at 2,966.85.
For the week, the Dow was up 3.3 percent, the S&P 500 rose
3.6 percent, and the Nasdaq gained 4 percent.
European shares posted their best weekly gain so far this
year after rising for a fifth day on Friday. The
FTSEurofirst-300 index of pan-European shares rose 0.6
percent to end at 1,110.45.
Germany's BASF and Bayer led a rally
in chemical stocks after a German business morale index
surprised with its first increase in seven months, raising the
prospect that Europe's largest economy can regain some momentum.
Also helping the market, confidence in the global economic
outlook got a big boost from the HSBC flash Manufacturing
Purchasing Managers Index for China, which pointed to an
expansion in activity after seven consecutive quarters of
The Chinese data followed a report on Wednesday showing U.S.
manufacturing grew in November at its quickest pace in five
months, indicating strong economic growth in the fourth quarter.
The euro rose as high as $1.2943 on Reuters data,
breaking above resistance at $1.2910, its 55-day moving average.
It was last trading at $1.2941, up 0.5 percent on the day.
Against the yen, the euro also hit a seven-month high of
106.73 yen and was last at 106.65 yen, up 0.4 percent.
MSCI's world equity index was up 1.1 percent
on Friday at 329.92 points. Earlier, MSCI's broadest index of
Asia Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.7
percent for a weekly gain of 2.6 percent, also its best week for
Optimism about a deal to help Greece, hopes that U.S.
lawmakers can agree on a solution to avoid a fiscal crisis, and
data showing an improving global economic outlook have driven a
rally in riskier asset markets this week.
Greece said the International Monetary Fund had relaxed its
debt-cutting target for the country, suggesting lenders were
closer to a deal for a vital aid tranche to be paid. But other
sources involved in the talks cautioned that the funding gap was
far bigger than Greece suggested.
"While we wouldn't want to understate the challenges of
reaching agreement on Greece, news reports have described some
of the remaining obstacles as technical and legal, and thus the
hurdles to a deal do not seem insurmountable," said Nick
Bennenbroek, head of currency strategy at Wells Fargo in New
Euro-zone finance ministers, the IMF and the European
Central Bank (ECB) failed earlier this week to agree on how to
get the country's debt down to a sustainable level. They will
make a third attempt at resolving the issue on Monday.
U.S. government debt prices mostly dipped on Friday in light
post Thanksgiving holiday trading. Bonds' safe-haven allure
faded as investors scooped up stocks.
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was
down 4/32, with the yield at 1.6917 percent.
GOLD AND OIL GAIN
In commodities, gold rose above $1,750 an ounce for the
first time in more than a month on Friday, gaining 1.3 percent
as dollar weakness and options-related buying triggered a
Oil rose above $111 a barrel on Friday as the
better-than-expected German business sentiment data helped ease
worries about demand in the euro-zone economies, boosting the
euro against the dollar, while fresh protests broke out in Egypt
and led to supply concerns.
Brent crude futures were up 85 cents at $111.40 a
barrel at 1734 GMT. U.S. crude was up 92 cents at $88.32.
The U.S. market, which was closed on Thursday for the
Thanksgiving holiday, will not issue a formal settlement price
until later Friday.
On Thursday, Israel began withdrawing its army, which had
been poised to invade the Gaza Strip in pursuit of militants
that had fired rockets into Israel.
Although the Gaza ceasefire is holding, violence has emerged
in Egypt. In Cairo's Tahrir Square, thousands of people
participated in demonstrations against President Mohamed Mursi.
Police fired teargas into the crowd in an attempt to disburse