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GLOBAL MARKETS-World stocks rally to record highs, dollar slips

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Herbert Lash and Tom Arnold
·3 min read
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(Adds close of European markets)

* S&P 500, Dow, MSCI ACWI hit fresh highs

* Bond yields near three-week lows

* Bitcoin hits record high, dollar weakens

By Herbert Lash and Tom Arnold

NEW YORK/LONDON, April 14 (Reuters) - Key global stock indexes scaled new peaks on Wednesday after upbeat U.S. and European earnings pointed to a strong recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, while the dollar dipped to three-week lows as Treasury yields held below recent highs.

U.S. import prices increased more than expected in March, lifted by higher costs for petroleum products and tight supply chains, in the latest data to show inflation is heating up as economies reopen.

U.S. Treasury yields ticked up in early trade after tumbling on Tuesday, when U.S. consumer prices data showed that while underlying inflation picked up in March it was not rising wildly as the economy recovered.

Results from JPMorgan Chase & Co and Goldman Sachs Group Inc suggest high cash reserves and a lack of strong loan demand will not spur inflation, allowing equities to rise further, said Jack Janasiewicz, a portfolio strategist at Natixis Advisors in Boston.

"What's the corporate use of that money, well it's loan demand. We're simply not seeing that," Janasiewicz said. "If you're going to be in that inflation camp you want to see people using money and we're certainly not seeing that right now."

High corporate debt issuance and accommodative government policies will push money into risk assets and lift prices, he said.

Upbeat earnings from software firm SAP and French luxury goods maker LVMH lifted the pan-European STOXX 600 index, which closed just below a record high set last week.

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.34% to hit a new peak, as did the benchmark S&P 500 and Dow industrials on Wall Street. The S&P 500 gained 0.07% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.58%. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.23%.

Led by Hong Kong's Hang Seng, most Asia-Pacific share indexes also climbed. The Nikkei fell 0.4% as rising coronavirus cases raised doubts about Japan's economic recovery with 100 days to go before Tokyo hosts the Olympics.

The New Zealand dollar rose to a three-week high of $0.7122 after the country's central bank held its official interest rate and asset purchase program steady, as expected.

In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin touched a record high of $64,895 ahead of the listing of cryptocurrency platform Coinbase on Nasdaq. Class A shares were poised to open trading at $365 a share.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in remarks at the Economic Club of Washington it was highly unlikely the U.S. central bank would raise interest rates before the end of 2022.

Later on Wednesday, the Fed will release its Beige Book, a compendium of data and anecdotes gathered by each of the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks on current economic conditions.

Benchmark 10-year notes rose 2.3 basis to yield 1.6465%. A spate of strong auction results this week has also helped to tame yields.

Euro zone bond yields, which had been rising in line with U.S. Treasury yields on hopes for a strong economic recovery later this year and increased inflation, on Wednesday dropped 1 to 3 basis points.

The dollar index fell 0.206%, with the euro up 0.28% to $1.198. The Japanese yen strengthened 0.09% versus the greenback at 108.96 per dollar.

Crude oil prices jumped on revised oil demand forecasts.

U.S. crude recently rose 4.79% to $63.06 per barrel and Brent was at $66.51, up 4.46% on the day.

(Reporting by Herbert Lash, additional reporting by Tom Arnold in London; editing by Larry King and Chris Reese)