December 27, 2019 / 8:07 PM / 3 months ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Global shares rise in record year-end rally, dollar slips

(Adds oil, gold settlement prices)

* Global shares climb to fresh records on trade, growth optimism

* European shares set for best year since financial crisis

* China's industrial profits grow at fastest in 8 months

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK, Dec 27 (Reuters) - World equity markets scaled fresh records as a year-end rally climbed further on Friday with upbeat Chinese economic data and optimism a U.S.-Sino trade deal is imminent raising global growth prospects, but the dollar weakened as risk appetite grew.

Wall Street set new all-time highs at the open or soon after and European shares rose to a third day of record peaks this week as various equity markets remained on course for their best year since the global financial crisis a decade ago.

Profits at Chinese industrial firms grew at the fastest pace in eight months in November, rising 5.4% from a year earlier to 593.9 billion yuan ($84.93 billion). The gains snapped three months of decline, but broad weakness in domestic demand remains a risk for corporate earnings in 2020.

The U.S.-China trade war rattled international commerce. Bilateral trade between the two largest economies fell 15.2% in the 12 months through November versus the same period ended in 2018, according to Panjiva, a S&P Global Market Intelligence unit.

The dollar slipped across the board as increased investor appetite for risk sapped the safe-haven appeal of the greenback.

MSCI's gauge of stock performance in 49 countries gained 0.35% while the pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.21%, both setting all-time highs.

Equity markets are poised to rise further in 2020, even as high valuations pose a concern, said Rahul Shah, chief executive of Ideal Asset Management in New York.

"Considering the dynamics of the market right now we think that equity investors should be positioning for further bullish momentum in 2020," Shah said.

"Valuations have been ticking up a little bit, but there have been many times in market history where valuations stay above average for a while," he said.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 55.47 points, or 0.19%, to 28,676.86. The S&P 500 gained 3.25 points, or 0.10%, to 3,243.16 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.71 points, or 0.03%, to 9,019.68.

Biotech shares, which have had a strong two-month run, led the Nasdaq lower.

The S&P 500 was just shy of surpassing a 29.6% gain in 2013, which would give the U.S. benchmark its best year since 1997.

Overnight in Asia, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan jumped 0.8% to 555.39, a level not seen since mid-2018. It is up 15.5% so far this year.

Emerging market stocks rose 0.58%.

Germany's benchmark 10-year Bund yield held steady below recent six-month highs while U.S. Treasury yields fell as the government debt found support following a sell-off that sent yields to one-month highs.

Yields have risen amid increased risk appetite driven by optimism that a Phase 1 U.S.-Sino trade pact will spur global growth and as major central banks around the world inject liquidity into the market.

The euro rose to a 10-day high. The dollar index fell 0.62%, with the euro up 0.78% to $1.1183. The Japanese yen strengthened 0.20% versus the greenback at 109.43 per dollar.

U.S. gold futures climbed to a seven-week high of $1,518.70 an ounce. Spot gold added 0.1%.

Oil prices edged down from three-month highs as investors' optimism on economic growth was clouded by the Russian energy minister's comments downplaying crude output cuts next year.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies including Russia, a group known as OPEC+, may consider wrapping up their oil output reduction in 2020, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said.

Brent crude settled up 24 cents to $68.16 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate rose 4 cents to settle at $61.72 a barrel.

U.S. gold futures settled 0.2% higher at $1,518.10 per ounce. (Reporting by Herbert Lash, additional reporting by Terence Gabriel in New York; Editing by Richard Chang and Daniel Wallis)

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