S&P 500 chalks up record high as fear-gauge drops


S&P 500 chalks up record high as fear-gauge drops

The dollar added 0.6% against its perceived safe-haven Japanese counterpart to 108.45 yen, moving away from a 10-month nadir of 107.32 yen touched on Friday. But Pyongyang did not carry out another test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, as South Korea's government had warned it might do.

The US dollar rose against major peers as Irma, while devastating, didn't reach the feared Category Five storm that some had anticipated and looks to have spared Miami.

China's central bank plans to scrap reserve requirements for financial institutions settling foreign exchange forward yuan positions with effect from Monday, four sources with direct knowledge of the matter said on Friday.

ANALYST TAKE: "Once again we find ourselves in a scenario in which no news is good news and while underlying risks remain, the longer we go without another nuclear or missile test, the more positive investors will become", said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA. That together with no further action by North Korea and a hurricane that was not as bad were part of "a combination of things working together" to help lift the greenback. Japan backed a US push for the United Nations Security Council to vote Monday on fresh sanctions against North Korea, saying that Kim Jong Un's nuclear program poses the most serious threat since World War II.

Pyongyang "is closely following the moves of the U.S. with vigilance", its state-run Korean Central News Agency said on Monday, citing a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He said investors are once again focused on strong economic growth in the U.S. and many other regions.

Economically speaking, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says the annual pace of housing starts in August increased compared with July. The services measure is also scheduled for Monday.

There were no major U.S. data releases due in the first trading session of the week.

Health-care stocks led the procession as Canopy Growth jumping 26 cents, or 2.8%, to $9.44, while Valeant Pharmaceuticals leaping 70 cents, or 4.2%, to $17.22. The FTSE 100 in London added 0.6% and the CAC 40 in Paris rose 1.2% at the time of writing. Hong Kong's Hang Seng inched down but was little changed at 27,944.98, while the Shanghai Composite gained almost 0.1 percent to 3,379.49. Futures on the S&P 500 Index climbed 0.5 per cent. Shares of the bank listed on the mainland were off 0.51 percent while Hong Kong-listed shares fell 1.19 percent.

The Hang Seng Index, meanwhile, shed 0.08 percent, and mainland markets were mostly flat.

The yen fell 0.5 per cent to 108.41 per USA dollar.

CURRENCIES: The euro was down 0.2 percent at $1.1930 while the dollar rose 0.4 percent to 109.83 yen.

The Aussie was at 80.46 United States cents, down 0.2 per cent.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note tumbled, boosting yields to 2.14% from Friday's 2.06%.

The Dow is up 2,294.77 points, or 11.6 percent.

In other commodities trading, copper added 2 cents to 3.07 dollars a pound.

All but three of the 12 TSX subgroups were positive to end the day, as health-care sprang 1.6%, information technology was better by 1.1%, and financials were 0.8% to the good.