FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, file photo, the American flag flies above the Wall Street entrance to the New York Stock Exchange. Global stocks mostly rose Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017, after Wall Street hit new highs and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed above the 30,000 level for the first time in over 10 years. Trading was slowing, however, ahead of the two-day U.S. break for the Thanksgiving holiday. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
JOHANNESBURG - Gauges of global and US stock performance set fresh record highs on Friday, buoyed by a bright business outlook and strong corporate earnings, while the economy’s strength in continental Europe lifted the euro to a two-month high against the dollar.

German business confidence hit a record high in November, a sign Europe’s largest economy was on track for a boom, the Ifo economic institute said.

The Ifo survey helped allay concerns about the recent failure of forming a new German government and came a day after surveys of Europe’s services and manufacturing industries beat the most optimistic forecasts in Reuters polls.

The strong outlook from Europe put the euro on course for a third consecutive week of gains against the dollar, its best run since July.

The single currency gained 0.6percent to 1.1921. MSCI’s all-country world index of equity markets in 47 countries rose 0.25percent to a new record high.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of regional shares traded little changed, as strong gains in financials were off-set by heavy losses in health care. However, several major European country indices, including France’s CAC 40, Germany’s DAX and Spain’s IBEX all advanced.

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On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P500 and Nasdaq Composite hit records, lifted by indications of a strong start to the US holiday shopping season.

The biggest percentage gainer on the S&P 500 was department store Macy’s, up 4.2percent, while the biggest point contributor was Amazon.com, up 1.89percent.

Turnout at US retailers was relatively subdued on Black Friday, with many shoppers flocking to stores to eye items in person and enjoy the festive atmosphere while waiting to do their actual bargain hunting online.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 52.2 points, or 0.22percent, to 23578.38 points in late afternoon trade.

The S&P500 had gained 5.43 points, or 0.21percent, to 2602.51 points and the Nasdaq Composite added 13.53 points, or 0.2percent, to 6880.89 points.

The dollar index dropped to its lowest since September 26 at 92.719 points.


- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE