Wall Street jumps on weaker greenback

New York, USA - Wall Street has risen strongly overnight on the back of continued weakness for the US dollar. The Dow Jones industrial average closed 192 points, or 1.1 per cent, higher at 18,252. The broader S&P 500 also added 1.1 per cent (23 points) to 2,121, as both indices fell just short of hitting new record highs. Companies that benefit from a weaker greenback led the gains, chiefly multinationals. Technology stocks also performed well, giving a double boost to Apple and Microsoft. The US dollar fluctuated on mixed economic data, with the Australian dollar well above where the Reserve Bank wants it at around 80.8 US cents by 7:40am (AEST). American jobless claims again came in below analyst expectations, pointing to economic strength, but that was offset by separate figures showing a decline in wholesale prices.

European stocks also bounced back from recent losses, as the European Central Bank (ECB) provided reassurance over the region's massive money printing program. ECB president Mario Draghi told an International Monetary Fund forum the quantitative easing program, pumping 60 billion euros a month into the economy, will continue for as long as needed. He also addressed concerns that the program is creating dangerous economic bubble or widening the gap between rich and poor. "While a period of low interest rates will inevitably result in some local misallocation of resources, it does not follow that it has to threaten overall financial stability," Dr Draghi said. "At the moment there is little indication that generalised financial imbalances are emerging." Meanwhile Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis declared the government agrees with its creditors on most issues, but wishes the country still had the drachma rather than the euro as its currency. "I wish we had never entered this monetary union, and I think that deep down all member states within the eurozone would agree with that now," he told a conference in Athens. Back on the markets, the Euro Stoxx index added 1.4 per cent (49 points) to 3,602 and the German DAX jumped 1.8 per cent (208 points) to 11,560. The FTSE 100 in London rose by a more modest 0.3 per cent (23 points) to close at 6,973. Futures trade suggested the Australian share market will also rise today; the ASX SPI 200 was 36 points, or 0.6 per cent, higher at 5,723 at 7:40am (AEST). At the same time the Australian dollar was buying around 70.8 euro cents, 51.2 British pence and 96.3 Japanese yen. Spot gold had risen slightly to $US1,221 an ounce and iron ore had slipped a little further to $US61.20 a tonne.
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