(Updates prices, comment; changes dateline, previous LONDON)
* World shares up for 7th session, touch highest since October
* Oil hits 2019 high, palladium at record
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, March 19 ( ) – Stock markets across the world rose on Tuesday for a seventh session, the longest winning streak of the year, while sterling wobbled against the U.S. dollar on expectations European Union officials would allow Britain a delay on Brexit negotiations.
Bets that the U.S. Federal Reserve will this week reinforce a market view that the U.S. monetary policy-tightening cycle is in the rear-view mirror have kept the bid on stocks alive, while the dollar index touched its lowest since March 1.
“There is optimism that the Fed is going to keep rates on hold, the economy is chugging along and we don’t see any inflation,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist and senior portfolio manager at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.
“Investors don’t want to miss out on the low interest rate environment which will help fuel the rise in stock prices.”
Investors will particularly look to see whether policymakers have sufficiently lowered their interest rate forecasts to more closely align their “dot plot,” which shows individual policymakers’ rate views for the next three years.
The CitiFX U.S. economic surprise index, which measures economic data against expectations, has been negative for over a month, and earlier in March, touched its lowest since August 2017.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 87.22 points, or 0.34 percent, to 26,001.32, the S&P 500 gained 6.04 points, or 0.21 percent, to 2,838.98 and the Nasdaq Composite added 12.30 points, or 0.16 percent, to 7,726.78.
MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.32 percent, while the pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.57 percent.
Emerging market stocks rose 0.12 percent. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 0.07 percent higher, while Japan’s Nikkei lost 0.08 percent.
In currency markets, sterling touched $1.3311 after slipping to as low as $1.3241 as traders expected EU officials to allow Britain a delay on Brexit negotiations, though the uncertainty kept the market volatile. Sterling was last trading at $1.3261, up 0.05 percent on the day.
“The predominant notion adopted by the market is that as long as the worst case scenario of hard Brexit is avoided by delaying Brexit, the pound is a buy on dips,” Rabobank strategists said in a note.
The dollar index, tracking the greenback against six major peers, fell 0.16 percent, with the euro up 0.1 percent to $1.1347.
The Japanese yen strengthened 0.03 percent versus the dollar to 111.39 per dollar.
Among commodities, oil prices were at 2019 highs, supported by supply cuts led by producer club OPEC. U.S. sanctions against oil producers Iran and Venezuela were also boosting prices, although traders said the market may be capped by rising U.S. output.
U.S. crude fell 0.44 percent to $58.83 per barrel and Brent was last at $67.32, down 0.33 percent on the day.
Precious metal palladium, used in things like car catalytic converters, dipped after it topped the $1,600 an ounce mark for the first time on supply concerns.
Palladium last lost 0.26 percent to $1,579.42 an ounce. Prices have nearly doubled since their mid-August lows and have surged more than 25 percent this year.
Spot gold added 0.3 percent to $1,307.54 an ounce. U.S. gold futures gained 0.45 percent to $1,307.40 an ounce.
Copper rose 0.76 percent to $6,474.00 a tonne.
U.S. Treasury yields followed German government bonds higher as the Fed’s interest rate policy-setting meeting began. Benchmark 10-year notes fell 4/32 in price to yield 2.6159 percent, from 2.601 percent late on Monday.
The 30-year bond fell 17/32 in price to yield 3.0375 percent, from 3.01 percent late on Monday.