Shares rally, euro at 11-year low on Europe's quantitative easing plan

By Michael Connor

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street jumped and European shares climbed to a seven-year high on Thursday as world markets cheered a European Central Bank stimulus program worth more than one trillion euros, while the euro slipped to an 11-year low.

Investors readying for a rise in global liquidity initially lifted U.S. Treasuries, whose relatively rich yields grew more attractive with prospects of lower euro zone bond yields, before they turned lower at midsession.

“It’s likely to impact yields everywhere,” said Aaron Kohli, an interest rate strategist at BNP Paribas in New York. “When you put this much stimulus into the markets, it’s going to go other places that you hadn’t intended, and one of those places is going to be U.S. debt.”

The ECB’s quantitative easing program of buying euro zone government bonds, along with its existing schemes, will pump 60 billion euros a month into the euro zone economy. It is set to run from this March until September next year.

ECB President Mario Draghi made clear the plan could be extended if the bank felt that was necessary.

Europe’s pan-regional FTSEurofirst (.FTEU3) index ended up 1.6 percent, as Scandinavia and eastern European markets rose in tandem. London’s top stock index (.FTSE) added 1 percent and touched a four-month peak in a sixth straight winning session.

Robust U.S. economic data added to gains on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI) was up 279.24 points, or 1.59 percent, to 17,833.52, the S&P 500 (.SPX) ahead 31.85 points, or 1.57 percent, to 2,063.97 and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) had added 84.02 points, or 1.8 percent, to 4,751.44

As the euro slumped to a nadir of $ 1.1363 last touched in September 2003, an index that measures the dollar against six of the world’s main currencies (.DXY) rose 1.4 percent. The euro (EUR=) was last at $ 1.1368. The dollar slipped against the yen (JPY=).

Denmark’s crown (EURDKK=D3) tumbled against the euro after the country’s central bank cut its key rate to a record low -0.35 percent from -0.20 percent.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes were last yielding 1.88 percent after falling as low as 1.81 percent, down from 1.94 percent before the ECB’s announcement. Thirty-year bonds were off 10/32 and yielded 2.452 percent, after going as low as 2.40 percent, down from 2.54 percent before the announcement.

German 10-year government bond yields hit record lows of 0.377 percent as European government borrowing rates plummeted.

Oil and gold (XAU=) prices bounced around as hopes the ECB’s action would boost growth contended with the threat of a stronger dollar, which would put pressure on products priced in dollars. (O/R)

Brent and U.S. crude futures gave up earlier gains to fall to $ 48.86 (LCOc1) and $ 46.59 per barrel (CLc1). Gold (XAU=) was up nearly 1 percent to $ 1,305.30 an ounce.

(Reporting by Michael Connor in New York; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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