GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks at 6-month high, gold hits record on Fed

* Fed minutes, Intel results whet risk appetite

* MSCI benchmark stock index highest since mid-April

* Dollar drops as Fed seen easing; gold hits record high
(Updates with European markets’ close)

By Walter Brandimarte

NEW YORK, Oct 13 (BestGrowthStock) – World stocks jumped to a
six-month high, gold hit another record, and the dollar
weakened on Wednesday on expectations that the Federal Reserve
will further loosen monetary policy, boosting risk appetite.

Gold prices reached an all-time high of $1,374.80 an ounce
as investors sought protection against a sinking dollar. Other
commodities also rose, and oil prices climbed more than 2
percent.

Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s September meeting on
Tuesday showed officials discussed the possibility of buying
more longer-term U.S. government debt to drive borrowing costs
lower and ways to nudge the public into expecting higher levels
of inflation in the future to spur spending.

“The Fed minutes certainly induced a rally right across the
board,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon
Partners in New York. “We are seeing the dollar lower, gold and
oil prices higher. That is adding risk flavor to the market.”

Strong corporate results also bolstered stock markets,
including dominant chipmaker and Dow component Intel Corp’s
(INTC.O: ) upbeat fourth-quarter sales and margin forecast.

MSCI’s benchmark All-Country World equity index
(.MIWD00000PUS: ) rose 1.3 percent on the day to hit its highest
level since mid-April.

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) rose 119.20 points,
or 1.08 percent, to 11,139.60, while the Standard & Poor’s 500
Index (.SPX: ) gained 11.95 points, or 1.02 percent, to 1,181.72.
The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) shot up 27.48 points, or
1.14 percent, at 2,445.40.

EUROPEAN STOCKS RALLY

The FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: ) index of top European shares
rose 1.42 percent to close at 1,086.52, a three-week high. The
index was boosted by shares of miners such as BHP Billiton
(BLT.L: ), which jumped 4.16 percent.

The prospect of a second round of U.S. quantitative easing,
which equates to printing more money, pushed the Australian
dollar to its highest level against the U.S. dollar since the
Aussie was allowed to float freely in 1983.

The Australian dollar (AUD=: )(AUD=D4: ) climbed as high as
US$0.9929, less than 1 cent to parity.

The U.S. dollar also weakened to an eight-month low against
the euro.

Dollar losses were limited, however, after the euro failed
again to hold above the key psychological $1.40 mark. The
dollar’s recovery accelerated after automatic buy orders were
triggered, traders said.

The euro (EUR=: ) was up 0.32 percent at $1.3950. It had
earlier risen as high as $1.4002 on trading platform EBS — not
far from its eight-month high of $1.4030 hit last week.

The dollar also posted losses against a basket of major
trading-partner currencies, with the U.S. Dollar Index (.DXY: )
down 0.30 percent. Against the Japanese yen, the greenback
(JPY=: ) edged up 0.2 percent to 81.92.

GOLD HITS RECORD

Gold hit a record high at $1,374.80 an ounce as the dollar
weakened globally. It was trading at $1,370.80 an ounce later,
still 1.57 percent higher than Tuesday’s close.

Gold prices have rallied nearly 25 percent so far this year
as investors turned to the metal as a haven from the effects of
an increasingly loose monetary policy in the United States.

“Because we are in a world of quantitative easing in the
developed economies, and as QE is almost synonymous with
competitive devaluation … gold and the precious metals (are)
taking on the function of an alternative currency,” said Ashok
Shah, chief investment officer of London & Capital.

U.S. crude oil (CLc1: ) rose 1.8 percent to $83.14 per barrel
after data showed China, which has surpassed the United States
as the world’s biggest energy user, set a record 35 percent
increase in September crude oil imports from a year earlier.

U.S. Treasury prices fell on prospects the Fed could buy
long-dated bonds in a second round of monetary policy easing.

The benchmark 10-year note (US10YT=RR: ) slid 11/32 in price,
with the yield at 2.481 percent, up from 2.424 percent late on
Tuesday.
(Reporting by Walter Brandimarte; Additional reporting by
Amanda Cooper in London; Chuck Mikolajczak and Wanfeng Zhou in
New York; Editing by Jan Paschal)

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks at 6-month high, gold hits record on Fed