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04.07.2016 05:06 Global Stocks

04.07.2016 05:06

European stocks ended higher Friday, pushing the Stoxx Europe 600 to its best week in five after a stunning series of sharp gains in the wake of the U.K.'s Brexit vote.

The index broke a four-week losing streak to end up 3.2% since last Friday, the strongest weekly rise since the week ended May 27. After sliding on Friday and Monday following Thursday's landmark referendum in the U.K. to leave the European Union, the index moved higher for four consecutive sessions.

Much of Thursday's rise of 1% was supported by a hint from Bank of England Gov. Mark Carney that a U.K. interest-rate cut was in store for the summer.

Meanwhile, investors on Friday were weighing the possibility that the European Central Bank loosening rules for bond purchases. The ECB is concerned there may not be enough debt available to buy under the terms of its current bond-buying program, as bond yields continued to fall after the Brexit vote.

U.K. stocks advanced Friday, kicking the second half of 2016 at their highest this year after hints the Bank of England could cut interest rates soon.

The FTSE 100 UKX, 1.13% climbed 1.1% to 6,577.83, with just 15 shares ending in the red. Friday's close marked the fourth straight win for the index, and a second consecutive day at a new high for 2016. The benchmark on Thursday ended the first quarter with a rise of 5.3%.

U.S. stocks booked a fourth straight daily gain Friday, and the Dow and S&P 500 marked their best week this year as stocks clawed back some of the losses scored in the wake of the tumult that followed the U.K.'s decision last week to sever ties with the European Union.

Better-than-expected manufacturing data combined with fading worries about the Brexit, or British exit from the EU, stoked appetite for equities.

Although marked by choppy trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, 0.11% rose 19.38 points, or 0.1%, to finish at 17,949.37. Home Depot Inc. shares, up 1.5%, led blue-chip advancers. The Dow came within a whisker of its pre-Brexit close of 18,011 before retreating in the afternoon.

Asian shares shrugged off early losses and edged higher on Monday, while the Australian dollar was under pressure after no clear winner emerged from a weekend election.

Activity across much of the region was subdued ahead of the U.S. Independence Day holiday, when financial and commodity markets will be closed.

Investors also continued to take stock of the potential financial market and economic fallout from the Brexit vote after days of volatile trade that followed in its wake.

While Australian politics usually have a muted impact on broader markets, the vote count so far suggests possible policy paralysis ahead which could pose a threat to the country's triple A credit rating.

But both Australian shares and the country's currency turned higher after Moody's Investors Service said short-lived political uncertainty would have limited implications for the country's coveted triple-A credit rating.



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