Political concerns pull global stocks

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    NEW YORK- Global equities and US government bonds edged higher Friday as investors weighed better-than-expected corporate earnings and increased M&A activity in Europe against political concerns ranging from November’s US elections to Brexit.

    Growing fears over a messy no-deal Brexit dragged sterling to new 5-1/2-month lows after the European Union told Britain it should urgently scrap a plan to break their divorce treaty.

    “Most of the risks faced by markets for the rest of the year are political, so around the US election, the UK government’s exit from the EU and US-China tensions,” said Francois Savary, chief investment officer at Swiss wealth manager Prime Partners.

    “As people take a step back to assess these risks, we’re in this consolidation, holding pattern, which was needed as markets aren’t cheap at the moment.”

    MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.45 percent following modest gains in Europe and Asia. Japan’s Nikkei rose after Tokyo dropped its coronavirus alert by one notch from the highest level as COVID-19 cases trend down.

    European indexes were bolstered after telecoms and cable group Altice Europe said its founder had offered to take the company private, sending its shares up more than 24 percent.

    In morning trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 153.71 points, or 0.56 percent, to 27,688.29, the S&P 500 gained 23.02 points, or 0.69 percent, to 3,362.21 and the Nasdaq Composite added 103.22 points, or 0.95 percent, to 11,022.82

    Shares of cloud services company Oracle Corp and exercise bike maker Peloton Interactive Co both jumped after better-than-expected earnings.

    The NYSE Fang+ index of big 10 tech companies has lost 5.4 percent so far this week – its biggest weekly loss since the market turmoil in March if sustained by the end of Friday.

    Still, the index has more than doubled from its March trough, and investors have gathered that high valuations are justifiable in light of near-zero interest rates in much of the developed world and massive liquidity the world’s central banks have created. — Reuters