U.S. stocks tallied strong gains Friday, with the Dow industrials bouncing back following a four-session slide, after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the U.S. central bank has more tools, if needed, to stimulate the economy. European stock markets extended losses in midday action on Friday, after a news report said that the European Central Bank may push back details of its plan to buy government bonds until a German court rules on Europe’s permanent rescue fund on 12 September. The central bank is still working on the program and may not be able to finish it before ECB President Mario Draghi’s monthly news conference on 6 September. Shanghai shares notched up another multi-year low Monday, while steep losses for Samsung Electronics curbed gains in South Korea, but Japan and Australia saw modest gains amid hopes for more central-bank stimulus.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 100.51 points, or 0.8%, to 13 157.97, leaving it down 0.7% for the week. Off 0.5% from the week-ago close, the S&P 500 gained 9.05 points, or 0.7%, to 1 411.13, with telecom the best-performing and the natural-resources sector the sole laggard of its 10 industry groups. The Nasdaq Composite rose 16.39 points, or 0.5%, to 3 069.79, leaving it 0.2% lower on the week.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 0.3% to 266.99. Germany’s DAX 30 index slumped 0.5% to 6 916.49, while France’s CAC 40 index dropped 0.5% to 3 416.75. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index gave up 0.3% to 5 757.01.
The Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.3% to a level not seen since January 2009, after closing at its lowest level since March 2009 on Friday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index lost a more modest 0.2%. But outside of China most markets moved higher, as Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average improved by 0.4%, and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index edged up 0.1%. The South Korean Kospi rose 0.2% in a choppy session, even as Samsung Electronics tumbled 7%. The tech major’s shares are currently the Kospi’s top component, with a weighting of 17% as of last Friday.
The US dollar is currently trading at 1.25 to the euro, 1.58 to the pound and will buy 78.73 Japanese Yen or 8.40 South African Rand.
The JSE All-share index was up 0.67% to 35 854.90 points‚ with top-40 index up 0.72% and resources lifting 1.34%.
The benchmark R157 bond was trading at 5.490% from a best level of 5.430% and 5.510% late on Wednesday. The R207 was bid at 6.605% and offered at 6.580% from 6.630%‚ and the R186 was trading at 7.460% from 7.495%.
Spot gold is currently trading at US$ 1 674.80/oz. and platinum at US$ 1 551.90/oz. Brent crude oil is currently trading at US$ 113.77 per barrel.