Stocks rallied across the world as investors ignored Friday the 13th, and that other recurrent cause of nerves, the European debt crisis. Instead, they focused on a second successful Italian bond auction, which indicated the European Central Bank's decision to flood financial institutions with cheap money was working.
Banks led the way higher. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.3 per cent, France's CAC 40 gained 1.2 per cent and Germany's DAX rose 0.6 per cent. Japan's Nikkei closed 1.4 per cent higher, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.6 per cent. The Euro STOXX 50 volatility index, a key gauge of Europe’s investor concern, fell 4.1 per cent.
U.S. stock futures turned negative after JPMorgan Chase & Co. reported a lower fourth-quarter profit. Net income was $3.72-billion (U.S.), compared with $4.83-billion a year earlier. Dow futures were down 16 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 12,397, while S&P 500 futures inched 2 points lower to 1,289.7.
Italy’s three-year debt costs fell below 5 per cent for the first time since September. Investors sought an interest rate of 4.83 per cent to lend three-year money, down from an average rate of 5.62 per cent in the previous auction and far lower than 7.89 per cent in November.
The foreign exchange market appeared more skeptical. The euro dipped to $1.2788 after the auction, having climbed as high as $1.2879.
Three-month copper rose 1 per cent at $8,092 a tonne.
Gold fell $8 to $1,639.70 an ounce.
U.S. crude oil was slightly lower at $98.92 a barrel.
The Canadian dollar traded at 98.19 U.S. cents.