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Global stocks hit new high despite lacklustre economic data

written by Bella Palmer

Eurozone stocks gained despite the EC cutting growth forecasts while also cutting their inflation forecasts

Global stocks rose to new record Thursday despite lacklustre economic data that included negative growth reports from Britain and Japan that qualified both countries as in recession.

The US Commerce Department reported a bigger than expected 0.8% decline in January retail sales, a pullback after the holiday season that suggested possible vulnerability in consumers.

US indices were pressured in the early going, but "people woke up in the afternoon and saw the way things were moving and went with that trend," said Art Hogan of B. Riley Wealth Management.

The S&P 500 ended up 0.6% at 5,029.73, an all-time high.

Meanwhile, eurozone stocks gained despite the EC cutting growth forecasts while also cutting their inflation forecasts.

Both Paris and Frankfurt set new intraday and closing highs due to strong corporate results.

Carmakers led the Paris stock market higher after Stellantis posted record 2023 profits as demand rose for new vehicles, one day after news of strong annual earnings from rival Renault.

Renault and Stellantis saw their shares rally more than 5% and topped the risers board.

Frankfurt stocks gained after Commerzbank revealed that higher interest rates had helped it achieve its biggest annual net profit in 15 years, sending shares in Germany's second-biggest lender also up more than 5%.

London equities also gained despite official data showing the UK entered recession at the end of last year, as high inflation prolonged a cost-of-living crisis for millions of Britons.

UK GDP dipped 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2023 after dropping 0.1% in the previous three months.

That places the British economy in recession, which is defined as two quarters in a row of falling GDP.

The weak data has driven new hopes that rate cuts may be forthcoming in the UK, and with Germany also teetering on the brink of a recession, that the eurozone may see rate cuts sooner than expected, said Chris Beauchamp, Chief Market Analyst at IG.

Tokyo stocks rallied despite the data showing that the Japanese economy had also entered recession - and has been overtaken by Germany as the world's third-largest economy.


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