GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks extend record highs, oil rises to highest in more than a yr

PUBLISHED: Mon, 08 Feb 2021 16:34:40 GMT
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* U.S. stocks up early; MSCI all-country world index hits record

* Brent crosses $60 a barrel

* Hopes of $1.9 trln U.S. stimulus, vaccines, boost sentiment (Updates with early U.S. markets activity; changes byline, dateline, previous LONDON)

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, Feb 8 (Reuters) – A gauge of global stock markets set another record high on Monday and oil prices rose to their highest in just over a year as investor optimism grew that U.S. lawmakers will soon pass a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid package.

Investors were keeping an eye on bitcoin as it rose again, with Elon Musk promising Tesla Inc would soon take payment for its electric vehicles in the currency and revealing it had already bought $1.5 billion worth of it.

Benchmark U.S. Treasury yields surged to 11-month highs as the U.S. fiscal stimulus was seen boosting economic growth and raising inflation more quickly than expected, and before the Treasury Department sells new longer-dated debt.

Major U.S. stock indexes hit record highs in early New York trading, extending a recent streak of gains.

Comments on Sunday by U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who said that if Congress approves the $1.9 trillion plan, the country would get back to full employment next year, added to the optimism.

Congress on Friday approved a budget plan that would allow a coronavirus relief bill to muscle through in the coming weeks without Republican support.

“We now have a situation where the Democrats do not need Republican approval in order to move ahead with the full $1.9 trillion stimulus package,” said Thomas Hayes, managing member at Great Hill Capital LLC in New York.

Stocks gained even after news that South Africa had halted the rollout of AstraZeneca’s vaccine after a study showed it gave only limited protection against the country’s more contagious variant of the coronavirus.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 131.57 points, or 0.42%, to 31,279.81, the S&P 500 gained 10.62 points, or 0.27%, to 3,897.45 and the Nasdaq Composite added 49.03 points, or 0.35%, to 13,905.32.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.42% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.47%. The MSCI index hit its ninth record high of 2021 overnight.

Brent oil surpassed $60 a barrel. Brent was up 68 cents, or 1.2%, at $60.02, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate rose 68 cents, or 1.2%, to $57.53.

The dollar was flat to slightly lower in choppy trading, holding its ground against a basket of major currencies as investors continued to price in a faster U.S. recovery than in most countries.

The dollar index rose 0.057%, with the euro down 0.03% to $1.2038.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes last rose 5/32 in price to yield 1.155%, from 1.17% late on Friday.

(Additional reporting by Marc Jones in London and Swati Pandey in Sydney; Editing by Larry King and Dan Grebler)

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