Stocks scale record high, crude oil gains

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

Continue Reading Below

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

Shares in Europe were mixed, with Britain's main index rising as Germany's DAX index and other indices fell. Wall Street traded flat to slightly lower.

But MSCI's all-country world index of stock performance in 47 countries rose 0.23 percent as it set a new all-time high. Emerging markets also rose, with MSCI's main equity benchmark touching fresh six-year highs.

MSCI's all-country world index gained 0.21 percent while the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading regional shares closed down 0.25 percent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 47.05 points, or 0.2 percent, to 23,543.78. The S&P 500 lost 2.17 points, or 0.08 percent, to 2,596.86 and the Nasdaq Composite  dropped 0.73 points, or 0.01 percent, to 6,861.75.

Continue Reading Below

The S&P technology index fell 0.36 percent after two days of gains, pulled lower by an 8.2-percent drop in Hewlett Packard Enterprise 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 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq edged lower.

But 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, 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 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 said the Keystone pipeline will cut deliveries by 85 percent or more through the end of November.

U.S. crude rose $1.06 percent to $57.89 a barrel and Brent was last up 44 cents at $63.01 a barrel.

The dollar fell, touching its lowest level 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 fell to 111.62 yen its lowest since Sept. 26. Against the Swiss franc the dollar fell to its lowest since Oct. 20, hitting 0.9827 franc.

The euro 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.

<3>More from FOX Business