World stocks, commodities surge on Europe hopes

World stocks, commodities surge on Europe hopes

New York: Stocks on major world exchanges were headed for their largest daily gain in 16 months on Tuesday and commodities also jumped on rising hopes that European leaders will beef up the euro zone’s rescue fund and tackle the region’s debt crisis.

The euro rose for a third straight day and oil prices rose almost 5% as European officials were seen considering plans to increase the size of its bailout fund and to recapitalize banks.

US Treasuries prices slipped, with benchmark 10-year note yields rising back near 2% as demand for safe havens ebbed.

“The market is beginning to get the feeling that, finally, European lawmakers are moving out of their paralysis," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York. “There’s hopes a global recession can be avoided."

Equities also were boosted as investors rebalanced their portfolios in the last days of the quarter. The wide gap in performance between equities and bonds, favoring government debt so far this quarter, may partly reverse.

US stocks rose for a third straight day, gaining more than 5% since Thursday, for the biggest three-day gain in six weeks.

By 12:48 p.m. EDT (1648 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was up 258.95 points, or 2.34%, at 11,302.81. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 25.45 points, or 2.19%, at 1,188.40. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 54.76 points, or 2.18%, at 2,571.45.

The MSCI all-country world stock index rose more than 3%, on track for its largest daily gain since May 2010.

European shares notched their largest%age gain since May 2010 and are on track to post their biggest weekly gain since July 2010. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of top shares closed up 4.6% at 938.38 points.

Bank stocks featured among the best performers, with the STOXX Europe 600 banks index up 6.8%, though bank stocks are still down 30.4% so far this year.

The rally followed expectations built over the weekend from meetings of the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C., which signaled European policymakers were acting to contain Greece’s debt problems and resolve a crisis threatening to engulf the world economy.

Caution of more volatility

Even so, some cautioned that markets could remain volatile as traders closely watch headlines to track the level of commitment from governments and institutions as they work to prevent a Greek default.

“Nothing has drastically changed. We get conversations around how we can get out of this mess -- and those are good. We need those," said Michael Sansoterra, portfolio manager of the RidgeWorth Large Cap Growth Fund in Atlanta, Georgia.

“But we’ve yet to see any concrete action. Actions speak louder than words, so we’ll flail about until we get some action."

Some officials said plans were under way to boost the assets available to help cut Greece’s debts and recapitalize banks.

But Germany said there were no plans to increase the size of the fund for regional bailout. Berlin faces a key vote on Thursday to increase the scope of the facility.

Economic data took a back seat to the events in Europe.

“Once we get some resolution of the European sovereign debt issues we will regain focus on what’s going on in our economic data stream, and that hasn’t been a pretty picture this past month or so," said Art Hogan, managing director at Lazard Capital Markets in New York.

U.S. consumer confidence remained at depressed levels in September and a gauge of labor market conditions deteriorated to its worst since 1983, an industry group reported.

A separate report showed US single-family home prices were unchanged in July on a seasonally adjusted basis. The data suggested home prices were stabilizing, though a recovery in the housing market remains a long way off.

On the commodities front, US crude oil was up 4.3% near $84 a barrel. The spot price of gold, which tracks bullion, rose 1.8% to near $1,660 an ounce. The 19-commodity Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index climbed 2.4%.