Stocks climb to fresh records as China posts blowout Q1 growth

The Chinese economy expanded at a record pace in the first quarter, helped by a strong surge in consumer activity in the vast nation
·3 min read

Global stocks rallied Friday, with major indices hitting new all-time highs, following data showing record economic growth in China and additional acceleration in the United States.

China saw expansion of 18.3 percent in the first quarter, boosted by a sharper-than-expected increase in retail sales.

The economic growth figure was the highest since records began three decades ago, enhanced by its chronically weak comparison figure from last year, though the reading was slightly below forecasts in an AFP survey.

"The national economy made a good start," National Bureau of Statistics spokeswoman Liu Aihua told reporters Friday.

In the United States, new housing starts jumped 19.4 percent in March, while housing permits also outperformed expectations.

The data came on the heels of strong government reports on employment and retail sales released Thursday.

"We had tremendous data all week this week," said Chris Low of FHN Financial.

"In addition to strong data, we get reassurances from Fed officials all week, including the chair, that they're very comfortable with the economic and inflation environment... so that's good news for equities, as well."

Both the Dow and S&P finished at fresh records Friday and also posted their fourth consecutive weekly gains.

"The bulls continue to call the shots and they have reason once again to like what they see and hear, as it resembles in many respects what they saw and heard yesterday," said Patrick J. O'Hare at Briefing.com.

German's DAX finished at an all-time high, while Paris's CAC gained nearly one percent.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index climbed above 7,000 points for the first time since February 2020, or just before the coronavirus pandemic took hold worldwide.

"The FTSE's breakout above the key 7,000 level and the DAX surging to a new record high suggest investors remain convinced that the European economy will also rebound strongly in the months ahead as lockdowns ease and travel and tourism resumes," said Think Markets analyst Fawad Razaqzada.

Among individual companies, Morgan Stanley dropped 2.8 percent after disclosing a $911 million loss from the meltdown of Archegos Capital Management despite reporting blockbuster first-quarter profits.

- Key figures around 2040 GMT -

New York - Dow: UP 0.5 percent at 34,200.67 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.4 percent at 4,185.47 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.1 percent at 14,052.34 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 1.0 percent at 4,032.99 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.5 percent at 7,019.53 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 1.3 percent at 15,459.75 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.9 percent at 6,287.07 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.1 percent at 29,683.37 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 0.6 percent at 28,969.71 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.8 percent at 3,426.62 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1981 from $1.1967 at 2100 GMT

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3839 from $1.3787

Euro/pound: DOWN at 86.57 pence from 86.80 pence

Dollar/yen: UP at 108.79 yen from 108.76 yen

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.3 percent at $66.77 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.5 percent at $63.13 per barrel

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