U.S. Markets closed

Global shares take heart from oil bounce, dollar capped

A man (L) looks at a stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo April 14, 2014. REUTERS/Issei Kato/Files

By Patrick Graham

LONDON (Reuters) - Stock markets recovered from their latest bout of oil and growth-related trauma on Tuesday, helped by promises from U.S. policymakers and the head of the IMF that lower fuel costs would boost the world economy.

A double-digit percentage fall in oil prices last week sent a shockwave through global financial markets, with countries heavily dependent on oil prices such as Russia, Nigeria and Norway among the biggest sufferers.

That had all eased on Tuesday, with the Russian rouble, Malaysian ringgit and many other emerging market currencies stabilising against the dollar after gains overnight.

Brent crude prices were roughly steady and Europe's main stock markets were around 1 percentage point higher, driven by gains for oil majors including BP, Total and Royal Dutch Shell.

Traders said the market might continue to improve into Thursday's European Central Bank meeting, watched for signs of the bank's next steps to revive a moribund euro zone economy.

"The weight of money does seem to want to come back into the stock markets and we're more likely to drift up going into the end of the year than to drift down," said Terry Torrison, managing director at Monaco-based McLaren Securities.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said late on Monday that falling oil prices were a positive for the global economy as a whole. Although the drop in oil has hit energy stocks, it has also given a lift to travel companies and should have a positive impact on consumer spending.

London's FTSE led gains in Europe, up more than 1 percent, while France's CAC index rose 0.9 percent and Germany's DAX 0.6 percent.

European bond yields rose, with strategists saying the bounce in oil prices on Monday had eased speculation that the bank could even ease policy further this week.

"The urgent need for the ECB to act has disappeared in the background," said Emile Cardon, market strategist at Rabobank.

Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer and New York Fed President William Dudley also said at separate events on Monday that soft oil prices would only temporarily dampen overall U.S. prices.

The pair painted a mostly rosy outlook, suggesting the Fed was not letting energy markets distract it from lifting rates. That helped the dollar gain around a quarter of a percent against a basket of currencies.

It rose 0.3 percent against the yen to 118.81 yen, within sight of Monday's seven-year highs of just above 119 yen.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.6 percent on Tuesday.

Buoyed by a relief rally in resource firms, Australian shares gained 1.4 percent.


(Additional reporting by Marius Zaharia and Sudip Kar-Gupta in London)