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World stocks hold near all-time high

Friday, July 04 16:32:03

World stocks were enjoying the view at an all-time high today, lifted by a week of strong U.S. economic data and promises from the European Central Bank that cheap money will be sloshing around for years.

European shares were marginally in the red as the dust settled from Thursday's forecast-busting U.S. jobs data and ECB meeting, with investors taking the opportunity to lock in profits after the biggest week of gains since March.

A new three-year peak for Asian stocks overnight meant MSCI's All World share index, which tracks 45 countries, set its fourth consecutive record high, while the dollar, U.S. bond yields and growth-sensitive copper were also up for the week.

"Markets keep going up," said Daniel McCormack an equities strategist at Macquarie Capital in London. "The world is still awash with money and a lot of it is still coming into equities." With Wall Street closed for Independence Day celebrations markets were quieter than usual but there were still pockets of movement.

Yields on lower-rated euro zone bonds continued to fall as analysts combed the details of new long-term loans the ECB has lined up for banks, and after it said on Thursday it stood ready to print money if needed.

The ECB will give banks the opportunity to borrow up to 1 trillion euros for four years at a rate of only 0.25 percent from September in the hope they will lend some of that money to businesses and consumers.

"More liquidity in the system is a boost for bonds," said Peter Chatwell, fixed income strategist at Credit Agricole.

Portuguese bonds though, which have underperformed this week due to concerns about an investigation into holding companies of the country's largest bank, were still off the pace.