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Global shares rise as US growth data dampens QE panic

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Global equities climbed overnight as poor growth figures from the US allayed fears the Federal Reserve will soon slam the brakes on its stimulus programme.

US GDP figures released yesterday showed the economy grew at a 1.8% annual rate in the first quarter, a downward revision from the previous estimate of 2.4% growth.

This disappointing data has prompted speculation the Federal Reserve will hold fire on planned policy changes as it realises the recovery remains fragile in the world’s largest economy.

The S&P 500 ended the session up 0.96% higher at 1,603, while the Dow was up 1.02% to close at 14,910.

Asian equities have taken a battering in the last couple of days as investors worried about the impact on shares if the US central bank suddenly calls time on asset purchases.

The region’s stock markets fell as China’s central bank indicated it is likely to continue its credit-tightening policy, stemming the flow of cheap money into the global economy.

Earlier this week, China slipped further into bear market territory, dragging down neighbouring markets.

The Nikkei regained some ground after a savage sell-off in recent weeks, closing almost 3% higher at 13,213. The Hang Seng, meanwhile, was 0.89% higher this morning, and the Korean KOSPI was up 2.87%.

Commodity prices also came under pressure, with gold on track for its worst quarter since 1920, having lost 22% since the start of April.

European stocks finished yesterday much firmer – the EuroStoxx climbed 2.34% to trade at 2,602, and the Dax closed 1.66% higher at 7,940, while the FTSE 100 closed 1.04% up at 6,165.

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