GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares cool after best week of the year

viernes 24 de octubre de 2014 08:14 GYT

* Stocks dip but head for best week of the year
    * Risk sentiment softens after first Ebola case in NY
    * U.S. and euro zone economic data positive
    * Oil on track for first weekly gain in five weeks

    By Marc Jones
    LONDON, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Global stock markets were heading
for their best week of the year on Friday following reassuring
company results, encouraging data from the world's biggest
economies and signs the ECB is upping its efforts to lift
    European bank stress-test results due at the weekend and
confirmation of New York City and Mali's first cases of Ebola
saw a touch of caution return, though markets were just happy to
have broken out of a steep month-long selloff.
    Wall Street's S&P 500 was set to open around 0.25
percent lower partly on the Ebola jitters and partly on profit
taking. It was still heading for a weekly gain of over 3
percent, it's biggest since December last year.
    The MSCI 45-country world index was set for
its strongest run since last July and oil was on track for its
first rise in five weeks, having been battered recently by a
combination of global growth and oversupply worries.
    "This week has been pretty crazy," said Kully Samra a
managing director at U.S. trading firm Charles Schwab in London.
    "It's has been the strongest week of the year for stocks, we
have seen triple digit moves (in points) on the Dow and the
volumes have been very, very strong, well above a billion."
    Before U.S. trading, European shares were paring their 
early losses as investors took a more relaxed view of the Ebola
cases and bet Sunday's bank stress-test results would not expose
any horror stories but would be credible enough to ensure
repairs in the sector continued.
    Banking stocks were the day's outperformers, rising 0.3
percent compared with falls of 0.3-0.6 percent on the main
bourses in London, Frankfurt and Paris.
    It has been an intense, year-long process for the ECB, and
leaks have begun to filter out. Spanish news agency Efe reported
that at least 11 banks from six European countries were set to
fail the review. 
    The euro was hovering flat at $1.2638, while southern
euro zone bonds for the most part enjoyed a dip in yields. Both
had fallen for much of the week after European Central Bank
insiders told Reuters the bank was drawing up plans for a
corporate bond purchase programme. 
    The Ebola fears saw S&P 500 mini futures dip 0.25
percent, but U.S. markets are at two-week highs on budding
optimism from corporate earnings and the global economy.
    So far, 177 of the S&P 500 companies have posted
third-quarter results and 69.5 percent have beaten expectations.
That was better than the 67 percent rate over the past four
quarters and higher than the 20-year average of 63 percent,
Thomson Reuters data showed.
    There was also focus on Russia and Ukraine, with Russia
facing a rating review from Standard & Poor's after markets
close and elections taking place in Ukraine on Sunday.
    The rouble was at a record low and stocks were in the red
before the S&P review, which could cut Russia's credit rating
cut to 'junk'. Moscow, however, hopes its solid finances will
avoid a downgrade, which would be the second downgrade from a
major rating agency in as many weeks.
    "I would assume that it is too early to revisit the ratings.
But this is my personal opinion. The rating agencies work
according to their methodologies," a former Russian finance
minister and outspoken policy critic, Alexei Kudrin, told
Reuters at an event in London this week.
    Greater political stability in Ukraine could aid the broader
European economy, which has suffered from the drop in trade with
Russia on tit-for-tat sanctions between the West and Moscow.
    "I suspect one often overlooked reason for the market's
rebound since the middle of this week was signs of easing
tensions between Russia and Ukraine," said Soichiro Monji, chief
strategist at Daiwa SB Investments.
    President Petro Poroshenko's bloc holds a big lead ahead of
Sunday's poll in Ukraine, but populist Oleh Lyashko's Radical
party could also make a strong showing. 
    If so, it would put Poroshenko in the awkward position of
seeking support from a politician who has been sharply critical
of his peace plan and contacts with Russian President Vladimir
    Brazil also holds the second round of its elections. The
Bovespa stock index hit a six-month low while the
Brazilian real slumped to a 9-1/2-year low on Thursday as
markets wagered current President Dilma Rousseff is likely to
beat rival Aecio Neves, who is seen as more market-friendly.

 (Editing by Larry King)