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Stocks, Oil Rise on Economy; Emerging Market Currencies Gain

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Rita Nazareth and Gavin Serkin
April 29, 2010

Stocks rallied the most in almost two months as companies from Motorola Inc. to Unilever NV posted better-than-estimated profit and European leaders moved closer to rescuing Greece. Higher-yielding currencies gained after the Federal Reserve pledged to keep interest rates at a record low.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed 1.3 percent and the MSCI World Index of stocks in 23 developed nations gained 1.2 percent at 11 a.m. in New York, the most since March 5 for both. The ASE Index jumped 7.1 percent in Athens, the biggest rally this year, as the European Union said it’s close to agreeing on a bailout to prevent a Greek default. The extra yield investors demand to hold Greek 10-year bonds instead of benchmark German bunds narrowed 97 basis points to 596 basis points. South Africa’s rand rose 0.9 percent against the dollar, while oil and tin led gains in commodities.

Investor confidence is recovering after almost three- quarters of companies in the MSCI World Index and S&P 500 that reported earnings topped analysts’ estimates. European confidence in the economic outlook improved to the highest in more than two years, while U.S. jobless claims fell to a one- month low and German unemployment plunged. Fed policy makers restated a pledge yesterday to keep interest rates near zero for an extended period even as the labor market begins to improve.

‘Great So Far’

“The earnings season has been great so far,” said Hayes Miller, a Boston-based money manager at Baring Asset Management Inc., which oversees $46.1 billion. “That’s a good indication for the economy. 2010 looks pretty solid right now. In Europe, things are still on the table.”

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This article was posted: Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 8:25 am

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