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Wall Street Stages Sharp Rally as Weaker Irma Shores Up Investor Optimism

13 September, 2017, 19:36 | Author: Jeff Stephens
  • NZ dollar falls as greenback recovers with weakening Irma

Global stock markets rallied and the dollar strengthened Monday as investors breathed a sigh of relief that Hurricane Irma, which has caused so much devastation in the Caribbean and in Florida, was weakening and that North Korea refrained from any potentially antagonistic move during a weekend holiday. USA stocks were poised open at or near record highs, with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.3 percent.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index made its biggest gain since late April as it rose 26.68 points, or 1.1 percent, to finish at a record high of 2,488.11.

USA crude futures traded up 0.61% to $47.77 by 6:47AM ET (10:47GMT), while Brent oil lost 0.35% to $53.59. While the damage is still being assessed, small insurers, especially ones that do a lot of business in Florida, climbed Monday as investors anticipate they won't have to pay out as much in claims as it looked like they would last week.

Shares of Florida insurers Heritage Insurance Holdings Inc HRTG.N, HCI Group Inc and Universal Insurance Holdings Inc all rose at least 13 percent or more.

The U.S. stocks rally was broad, with the ratio of S&P 500 shares that were rising relative to those that were falling at the highest in three months.

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Texas and Louisiana are still reeling from the flooding and destruction left by Hurricane Harvey at the end of August. Forecasters have predicted damaging winds, drenching rains and a unsafe storm surge from the Gulf of Mexico.

Meanwhile, Federal Reserve speakers are now in a blackout period before next week's policy meeting, so investors are likely to devote much of their attention to assessing the impact of natural disasters on US growth.

CURRENCIES: The euro was down 0.2 percent at $1.1930 while the dollar rose 0.4 percent to 109.83 yen.

And while a gridlocked federal government hasn't done much to stimulate the economy, Paulsen said the weakening dollar and falling interest rates could give USA businesses a big boost.

Bond prices sank. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.12 from 2.05 percent. Financial and technology companies lead the way. Apple, which will unveil its newest iPhone on Tuesday, rose $2.30, or 1.4 percent, to $160.93 and Facebook rose $2.35, or 1.4 percent, to $173.30. London added 0.5 percent.

In another sign investors were willing to take more risks, gold lost $15.50, or 1.1 percent, to $1,335.70 an ounce. US gold futures fell about 1.3 percent to settle at $1,335.70 an ounce.

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Powered by Apple's A11 Bionic processor, the technology projects over 30,000 invisible IR dots to map and recognize a user's face. Those phones, Apple said, will shoot pictures with better colours and less distortion, particularly in low-light settings.

Wholesale gasoline lost 1 cent to $1.63 a gallon.

The kiwi traded at 89.97 Australian cents from 90.11 cents in NY and fell to 78.56 yen from 78.68 yen. Natural gas rose 6 cents to $2.95 per 1,000 cubic feet. Futures had risen to $1.54 a pound Friday from $1.30 at the end of August and slipped to $1.51 a pound on Monday. The euro slid to $1.1967 from $1.12028.

In Europe, Germany's DAX was up 0.6 percent at 12,550 while the CAC 40 in France was 0.7 percent higher at 5,213. The pound's rebound from its post-Brexit vote lows is potentially negative news, however, for British firms that have big business interests outside the U.K. And the money they make overseas will be worth less when it is brought back to the U.K. That helps explain why the FTSE 100 index of leading British firms, which is made up of main worldwide companies like BP and Burberry, was a laggard.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index jumped 1.4 percent to close at 19,545.77 as the yen came off recent highs against the dollar, easing pressure on exporters. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.6 percent at 5,746.40, while South Korea's Kospi edged up 0.3 percent to 2,365.47.

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An unusually large hurricane, Irma left an exceptional swath of damage on both Florida coasts and almost everywhere in between. The NHC said that it is weakening, while retaining hurricane strength before weakening to Category 1 strength.


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