World shares set fresh records, lifted by U.S. housing data

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Key world equity indexes scaled new highs on Friday as a surge in U.S. housing starts to levels last seen in 2006 powered stocks while the greenback rose to a one-week high against the euro on expectations of solid economic growth.

Optimism over corporate earnings and indications of resilience in China’s economy also lifted equities and pushed government debt yields higher.
U.S. housing starts jumped 16.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.608 million units in December, a 13-year high.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.21%, its fifth straight day of new highs.

European shares touched a record high, as the broad pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.92%.

The three main indexes on Wall Street also hit records.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 8.47 points, or 0.03%, to 29,306.11. The S&P 500 gained 3.63 points, or 0.11%, to 3,320.44 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 5.50 points, or 0.06%, to 9,351.63.

Emerging market stocks rose 0.37%.