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While you were sleeping: Optimism prevails

Friday 19th November 2010

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November 19 - Stocks on Wall Street and in Europe extended yesterday’s gains amid expectations Ireland was edging towards accepting financial help for its debt woes.

Today, officials from the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank travelled to Dublin to talk about a potential aid package for Ireland’s battered banks.

In early afternoon trading, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 1.66%, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index climbed 1.77% while the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 1.94%.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 rose 1.3% to 270.87 at the 4:30 p.m. close in London, climbing for a second straight day.

"It's absolutely vital for the authorities to take proactive steps in order to try to resolve this crisis as soon as possible. The market should see some relief in relation to that," Henk Potts, equity strategist at Barclays Wealth, told Reuters.

Irish central bank Governor Patrick Honohan today said he expected the country to ask for a bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund worth “tens of billions” of euro.

Ireland would probably pay an interest rate close to 5%, he told Irish state broadcaster RTE today.

The Dollar Index, which measures its value against a basket of currencies, fell 0.49% to 78.70.

The euro earlier rose about 1% against the U.S,. dollar and yen. It was last up 0.8% at US$1.3626.

Meanwhile, investors welcomed General Motors  return to public trading after a US$20 billion initial public offering, the largest in U.S. history.

The stock rose as much 7% and trading in the Detroit automaker's shares accounted for nearly 8% of composite volume, according to Thomson Reuters data.

"This is bigger than just an IPO. It's an American icon coming back on stream and it is feeding optimism to the stock market," Bernie McGinn, president of McGinn Investment Management in Alexandria, Virginia, told Reuters.

U.S. Treasuries fell amid signs the U.S. economic recovery was progressing well, reducing the appeal of fixed-income securities.

Manufacturing in the Philadelphia region in November grew at the fastest pace this year as orders, sales and employment rose.

The yield on the 10-year note rose six basis points to 2.94% at 10:44 a.m. in New York, according to BGCantor Market Data.

The Treasury said it would sell US$35 billion of two-year notes, US$35 billion in five-year debt and US$29 billion of seven- year securities during three days starting Nov. 22, in line with a Bloomberg News survey of primary dealers.

Oil benefited from the optimism that Ireland would accept a bailout for its crisis and additional signs that the U.S. economy was growing better than expected.

Even so analysts warned of more volatility ahead.

"I think while the uncertainty's still there over whether there's going to be a bailout or not there's going to be a lot of fluctuation," James Hughes, a strategist at CMC Markets, told Reuters.

U.S. crude oil futures rose US$1.37 to US$81.82 at 1516 GMT.  ICE Brent gained US$1.55 to US$84.83.

Gold advanced too. Spot gold was bid at US$1,356.20 an ounce at 1510 GMT, against US$1,335.70 late in New York on Wednesday.

"Precious metals are rebounding today along with other commodities, mainly as the dollar weakens relative to a number of currencies," Anne-Laure Tremblay, BNP Paribas precious metals strategist, told Reuters.



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