EMERGING MARKETS-Emerging stocks reach 7-month highs as U.S. rate view shifts
By Chris Vellacott
LONDON, April 24 (Reuters) - Emerging market stocks hit new seven-month highs on Friday, led by robust gains in Asia, as lacklustre U.S. economic data fed a consensus that Fed rate hikes are less imminent than once feared.
The MSCI emerging equities index gained 0.6 percent to its highest level since last September. Much of the momentum came from Asia where Taiwan's tech-heavy stock market rose 1.2 percent to a 15-year high following record gains on the U.S. Nasdaq index.
The MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan benchmark advanced 0.8 percent and was trading at a seven-year high.
Weak readings on U.S. jobless claims, manufacturing and home sales rekindled doubts about how soon the Federal Reserve can raise interest rates, buoying emerging market assets.
"Certainly, a lot of the panic has subsided in the past month or so," said Neil Shearing, head of emerging markets at Capital Economics.
"There is growing acknowledgement that the Fed will tread carefully and second, there have been some local positive developments ... the oil price stabilisation has also helped."
He noted that Brazilian markets had been recovering, led by Petrobras which has tried to move on from a corruption scandal by publishing its long-delayed 2014 audit . Brazilian shares jumped 2 percent on Thursday.
Stabilising oil prices helped Russia's rouble which was more than 1 percent higher against the dollar, close to a 4-1/2 month high. Continuación...