Stocks scale record high, crude oil gains

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A gauge of global equity performance scaled fresh record highs on Wednesday, propelled by bullish growth and company earnings outlooks, while crude oil rose to the highest prices in more than two years.

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Asia again led gains in global stock markets as Hong Kong's main Hang Seng index <.HSI> closed above 30,000 for the first time in a decade. China's H-shares index <.HSCE> and Japan's Nikkei share average <.N225> also rose.

Shares in Europe were mixed, with Britain's main index <.FTSE> rising fractionally as Germany's benchmark DAX <.GDAXI> index and other indexes fell. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading regional shares <.FTEU3> closed down 0.25 percent.

But MSCI's all-country world index <.MIWD00000PUS> of stock performance in 47 countries rose 0.31 percent as it set a new all-time high driven by investor enthusiasm for tech stocks.

Apple <AAPL.O>, Amazon.com <AMZN.O> and Verizon <VZ.N> pushed the global benchmark higher.

Emerging markets also rose, with MSCI's main equity benchmark climbing 0.70 percent to set a fresh six-year high <.MSCIEF>.

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Wall Street traded mixed on subdued trading volumes before Thursday’s U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> fell 64.65 points, or 0.27 percent, to 23,526.18. The S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 1.95 points, or 0.08 percent, to 2,597.08 but the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 4.88 points, or 0.07 percent, to 6,867.36.

The S&P technology index <.SPLRCT> fell 0.26 percent after two days of gains, pulled lower by a 7.2-percent drop in Hewlett Packard Enterprise <HPE.N> after Meg Whitman said she would leave as chief executive in February.

The decision by Whitman, a high-profile U.S. executive, took Wall Street by surprise but the tech-heavy Nasdaq still edged higher.

The U.S. equity market is poised for "smooth sailing" through year-end even as the ebullient mood on Wall Street signals trouble later in 2018, said Doug Ramsey, chief investment officer at The Leuthold Group LLC in Minneapolis.

However, the broad equity advance, with few lagging sectors, suggests the bull market still has room to run, Ramsey said.

"The odds that we'll be at higher highs three to four months from now are very high, though it doesn't rule out some short-term setback," he said. "I have never seen a major bull market top that looks like anything where we stand today, even compared to 1987."

Oil retreated slightly from a more than two-year high after U.S. crude stockpiles fell less than an industry group had suggested on Tuesday.

Still, U.S. crude prices remained elevated near $58 a barrel after sources familiar with the matter said the Keystone pipeline will cut deliveries by 85 percent or more through the end of November.

U.S. crude <CLcv1> rose $1.19 percent to settle at $58.02 a barrel. Brent <LCOcv1> settled up 75 cents at $63.32.

The dollar fell, touching its lowest in more than a month against the Japanese yen and the Swiss franc, after the release of weaker-than-expected U.S. data and inflation expectations.

New orders for U.S.-made capital goods unexpectedly fell in October after three straight months of strong gains and a measure of goods orders that strips out volatile components had its biggest drop since September 2016.

The dollar index <.DXY> fell 0.74 percent, with the euro <EUR=> up 0.71 percent at $1.182. The Japanese yen strengthened 1.09 percent versus the greenback at 111.24 per dollar <JPY=>.

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The euro <EUR=> rose to a session high against the dollar of $1.1796.

The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment report showed a decline in expectations for long-term inflation.

U.S. Treasury prices gained after the minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest meeting affirmed market expectations that the U.S. central bank will hike interest rates in December.

However, some voting policymakers expressed concern over the inflation outlook, according to the minutes. These policymakers said they would be looking at upcoming economic data before deciding the timing of future rate rises.

Benchmark 10-year notes <US10YT=RR> last rose 11/32 in price to push yields down to 2.3223 percent.

U.S. gold futures for December delivery <GCcv1> settled up $10.50 an ounce at $1,292.20 per ounce.

(Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Nick Zieminski, James Dalgleish and Susan Thomas)