World stocks extended gains on Friday while the dollar held near 15-month lows after US inflation data this week unleashed a wave of investor optimism that the US Fed was nearing the end of its rate-hiking cycle.

Data showed on Wednesday US consumer prices growing at their slowest pace in more than two years, and on Thursday the smallest increase in US producer inflation in nearly three years. On Friday, the government reported that US import prices dropped 0.2% last month, and US consumer sentiment jumped to the highest level in nearly two years.

As investors bet on a milder inflation outlook, the MSCI World Equity index rose to its highest so far this year. It was up 0.2% on the day on Friday, after a week of gains put it on track for its biggest weekly rise since November 2022 and its highest levels since early 2022.

Wall Street rose for the fifth straight day on Friday.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2023.

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