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Sep 25, 2014 8:19 AM

Global stocks track US higher; dollar marches on

The Associated Press

LONDON (AP) Global stocks markets tracked Wall Street higher Thursday following a surge in new U.S. home sales. The dollar, meanwhile, continued to advance as the U.S. currency continues to benefit from growing market expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates sooner than its major counterparts around the world.

KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Germany's DAX rose 0.5 percent to 9,707 while the CAC-40 in France rose 0.3 percent to 4,428. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was flat at 9,705. In the U.S., Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures were set for a flat opening, following the previous day's advance when markets were buoyed by a forecast-busting 18 percent increase in new home sales in August.

FURTHER US CLUES: Investors will be awaiting another batch of U.S. data later, including weekly jobless claims and durable goods orders. The figures will be assessed in the context of how they will impact on expectations of when the U.S. Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates. Next week, further clues will emerge from a raft of key data, including the key nonfarm payrolls report for September.

ANALYST TAKE: "The existence of major fundamental risks next week means that there is some caution ahead with many unsure of the direction that markets should be heading," said Joshua Mahony, research analyst at Alpari.

THE DOLLAR IMPACT: The dollar has been in the ascendant against the major currencies as the Fed is widely perceived to be moving nearer to a rate hike, in contrast to the current policy stance of the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan. On Thursday, the euro was down further, trading 0.5 percent lower at $1.2719, not far off from a two-year low. The dollar also rose to 109.35 yen, slightly short of last week's six-year high against the Japanese currency.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan outperformed the region with the Nikkei 225 up 1.3 percent to 16,374.14 as the yen fell further to the likely benefit of the country's exporters. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite rose 0.1 percent to 2,345.10 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 0.6 percent to 23,768.13.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil edged up 23 cents to $93.03 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.


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