Global stocks helped by U.S. data, but growth fears remain

By Walter Brandimarte

NEW YORK (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) gained modestly and European shares pared losses on Tuesday after a rise in U.S. consumer confidence, but persistent fears of a slowing economy weighed on oil prices and the dollar.

Concerns about the health of the U.S. economy had earlier pushed investors into safe-haven assets, sending the yen to a near 15-year peak and gold prices to a two-month peak.

But a report showing that an index of U.S. consumer confidence rose above expectations in August, combined with a larger-than-forecast increase in prices of U.S. single-family homes in June, lifted investor sentiment.

“Consumer confidence is the second positive surprise we’ve had today. Does that mean we’ve hit the peak of bearishness yet? If not, we’re probably close,” said Uri Landesman, president of Platinum Partners in New York.

“I think these two data points, combined, will prevent what would’ve been a pretty bad day.”

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) climbed 17 points, or 0.17 percent, at 10,025, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (.SPX: ) rose 0.68 point, or 0.06 percent, at 1,049. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) slipped 4 points, or 0.22 percent, at 2,115.

The MSCI All-Country World equity index (.MIWD00000PUS: ) trimmed losses but remained 0.23 percent lower. The same happened to the FTSEurofirst 300 index (.FTEU3: ) of top European shares, which dipped only 0.1 percent after falling as much as 1.3 percent earlier.

The U.S. dollar pared losses against major currencies following the confidence data.

The dollar was down 0.25 percent against the Japanese currency at 84.39. It had earlier fallen to 84.06, according to Reuters data, not far from its 15-year low of 83.58 set on electronic trading platform EBS last week.

The euro was up 0.45 percent at $1.272.

The dollar was also down 0.24 percent against a basket of major currencies measured by the U.S. Dollar Index (.DXY: ).

U.S. Treasury prices gave back some of their earlier gains but remained higher, in a sign that investors are still weary of the U.S. economic outlook.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was up 7/32 in price, with the yield at 2.5054 percent. The 30-year bond was up 13/32, with the yield at 3.5595 percent.

U.S. crude oil prices fell 33 cents, or 0.44 percent, to $74.37 per barrel, while spot gold prices rose $8.30, or 0.67 percent, to $1,244.60, its highest since late June.

(Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak, Chris Reese, and Wanfeng Zhou; Editing by Kenneth Barry)

Global stocks helped by U.S. data, but growth fears remain