LONDON / BEIJING – World stocks were heading for their first weekly gain in eight weeks on Friday on a more upbeat earnings view while the dollar hit one-month lows after the Federal Reserve's minutes suggested it could put the brakes on rapid rate hikes later this year.
Optimistic US earnings outlooks overnight from department store operator Macy's Inc and discount chains Dollar General Corp and Dollar Tree boosted stocks.
The Fed's minutes of its May meeting released on Wednesday confirmed two more 50-basis-point hikes each in June and July, but policymakers also suggested the potential for a pause later in the year.
"It's all flowed through from the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) minutes," said Giles Coghlan, chief currency analyst at HYCM.
"Investors were relieved there wasn't a 75 basis points hint."
Markets would focus on the April core PCE price index for the United States due later on Friday for further signs on whether inflation was running hot, Coghlan added.
The MSCI world equities index rose 0.38 percent. It was heading for a 3.2 percent rise on the week and an almost 6 percent recovery from 18-month lows set two weeks ago.
S&P futures were flat after the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.61 percent, the S&P 500 gained 1.99 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite jumped 2.68 percent on Thursday.
European shares hit a 10-day high and were up 0.18 percent. Britain's FTSE eased 0.23 percent, off the previous day's three-week highs.
Asian shares also benefited from hopes of stabilizing Sino-US ties and more Chinese government stimulus.
Japan's Nikkei advanced 0.7 percent, and Australia's resources-heavy index climbed 1.1 percent.
The swing in sentiment drove the dollar to one-month lows against an index of currencies, down 3.2 percent from 20-year highs hit earlier this month. The euro reached a one-month high and was up 0.11 percent.
Oil prices stayed near a two-month high, with Brent crude on track for its biggest weekly jump in 1-1/2 months, supported by the prospect of an EU ban on Russian oil and the upcoming US summer driving season.
US crude edged up 0.08 percent to $114.20 a barrel. Brent gained 0.28 percent to $117.73 per barrel.
The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes dipped to 2.7468 percent. It had hit a three-year high of 3.2030 percent earlier this month on fears rapid hikes from the Fed might undermine long-term growth.
The two-year yield, which rises with traders' expectations of higher Fed fund rates, softened to 2.4678 percent compared with a close of 2.4888 percent.
"All in all, a pronounced decompression of stress," said analysts at ING in a note.
German 10-year bond yields eased to 0.982 percent.
Spot gold rose 0.43 percent to $1857.79 per ounce.