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Global equities gain on mergers, acquisitions


Stock brokers

Stock brokers

THE dollar rose and global equity markets surged on Monday on merger and acquisition activities among drugmakers on both sides of the Atlantic, while Chinese stocks hit a seven-year high on an ambitious government plan to create a modern Silk Road.

A spate of deals lifted the Dow and major indexes in Europe more than 1 percent as the dollar gained versus other currencies on the view the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this year.

Earlier, China unveiled details of an ambitious plan to improve links from Asia to Europe and Africa that President Xi Jinping said in a decade would generate $2.5 trillion in annual trade with the countries involved.

A rally in technology shares in Europe tracked Friday’s surge in the U.S. tech sector, helping equities bounce back from losses last week.

Germany’s DAX index .GDAXI rose 1.6 percent, nearing an all-time high, while the FTSE Eurofirst index .FTEU3 of 300 leading European companies gained 1.02 percent. MSCI’s all-country world index .MIWD00000PUS rose 0.6 percent.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 244.5 points, or 1.38 percent, to 17,957.16. The S&P 500 .SPX gained 18.74 points, or 0.91 percent, to 2,079.76 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 32.63 points, or 0.67 percent, to 4,923.85.

“A lot of it is certainly merger related, there’s no question about that, and that gins up confidence among everyday investors. If the insiders are willing to make big acquisitions, why not the rest of us?” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank in Chicago.

The euro slumped against the dollar on worries whether Greece would secure funds from a 240 billion euro aid package before it runs out of cash in three weeks.

Athens sounded upbeat about the talks with its creditors, while Germany called for a more detailed list of reforms.

The single currency was down 0.46 percent against the dollar at $1.0837 EUR=, bringing its quarterly decline to 10.4 percent, its largest since the third quarter of 2008.

The dollar rebounded after comments late Friday from Fed Chair Janet Yellen underscored the view that the U.S. central bank is likely to start raising rates gradually later this year.

The dollar index .DXY, a gauge of the greenback’s value against a basket of currencies, climbed 0.61 percent after back-to-back weeks of losses.

The greenback was up 0.70 percent against the yen at 119.93 yen JPY=.

Oil prices slipped as officials from Iran and six world powers discussed a possible deal over Tehran’s nuclear program that could bring an end to sanctions and allow an increase in Iranian oil exports.

The two sides have until the end of Tuesday to come up with an agreement at talks in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Brent crude LCOc1 was down 88 cents at $56.53 a barrel. U.S. crude CLc1 was down 83 cents at $48.04.

U.S. Treasury debt prices softened, giving back some gains from last week as equity markets rose.

As Wall Street stocks jumped, yields on the 10-year note US10YT=RR stayed well below the 2 percent touched last week and were last at 1.951 percent on a price decline of 1/32.

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