AFP – US stocks opened 2018 in torrid fashion Tuesday, bidding the Nasdaq to its first close above 7,000 points, while European bourses were weighted down by a strengthening euro.
US technology stocks, which had generally underperformed the broader American market in the final weeks of 2017, stormed higher in the first session of the year, with Apple, Amazon and Google-parent Alphabet all gaining close to two percent.
"As long as the economic data suggests improvement, the (tech) companies will see more funds from investors," said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Annuities.
While analysts warn that 2018 will be more volatile than last year, most expect US stocks to continue pushing higher amid strengthening global economic conditions and higher US earnings expected due to tax cuts.
The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index surged 1.5 percent to 7,006.90, and the S&P 500 also finished at a fresh record, while the Dow finished higher and not far from a new all-time high of its own.
London and the main eurozone exchanges posted losses as the euro and pound rose against the dollar, weighing on the share prices of export-oriented multinationals.
Many foreign exchange analysts are skeptical the US Federal Reserve will end up hiking aggressively in 2018
"A lack of inflation is seen as limiting the need for further dollar-supportive Fed lending rate increases in 2018," said Omer Esiner, analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange.
"At the same time, many of the world’s major central banks are moving toward normalizing their own monetary policies as well, which could keep the dollar’s upside limited."
London and Paris slid 0.5 percent, while Frankfurt dipped 0.4 percent.
"A bit of profit-taking in the mining sector and the continued weakness of the dollar appeared to be driving trading, especially in Europe," Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell told AFP
Asian stocks earlier mostly kicked off the year with gains.
Hong Kong jumped two percent to its highest level since late 2007, while Shanghai ended 1.2 percent higher, boosted by data showing manufacturing activity in China continued to expand in December.
– Key figures around 2145 GMT –
New York – DOW: UP 0.4 percent at 24,824.01 (close)
New York – S&P 500: UP 0.8 percent at 2,695.79 (close)
New York – Nasdaq: UP 1.5 percent at 7,006.90 (close)
London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.5 percent at 7,648.10 points (close)
Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 0.4 percent at 12,871.39 (close)
Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 0.5 percent at 5,288.60 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.4 percent at 3,490.19
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 2.0 percent at 20,515.31 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: UP 1.2 percent at 3,348.33 (close)
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: Closed for a holiday
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.2055 from $1.2005 late on Friday
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3594 from $1.3502
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 112.28 yen from 112.68 yen
Oil – Brent North Sea: DOWN 30 cents at $66.57 per barrel
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 5 cents at $60.37 per barrel