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Global stocks inch to record high

·2-min read

Global stocks have risen for the seventh straight day to reach a record high, while bitcoin also reached a peak after an endorsement from Tesla Inc in the prior session had sent the cryptocurrency up 20 per cent.

Robust corporate earnings, monetary and fiscal support from policymakers and prospects that pandemic vaccines could hasten a return to normal in the United States and other countries have all bolstered risk sentiment in recent days.

A record high close for Wall Street overnight gave Asian stocks the confidence to push on further, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan up 0.3 per cent, led by Chinese blue chips, up 2.2 per cent.

That helped The MSCI All-Country World Index edge up 0.1 per cent to its own record high, although early moves in Europe's top indexes suggested further gains may be tougher to find, with Britain's FTSE 100 flat on the day.

Futures for the S&P 500 were equally undecided, suggesting a quiet start to the US trading day.

"Reflation on the back of US fiscal stimulus and positive vaccine news remains the major theme for markets," strategists at National Australia Bank wrote.

In keeping with the risk-on sentiment, oil also hit 13-month highs, helped by rising optimism about a return in fuel demand, with Brent crude up 0.8 per cent.

"There is a sense that the glut of oil supply is disappearing more rapidly than anybody thought possible," said Phil Flynn, senior analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. "There seems to be a paradigm shift in the market."

Despite that, concern remains over the pace of vaccination, the efficacy of the vaccines against new strains of the COVID-19 virus and the damage being done to economies, including the impact on the dollar of a planned $US1.9 trillion stimulus package.

That suite of negativity helped weigh further on the dollar . Against a basket of other currencies, it was down 0.2 per cent in early deals - bolstering gold, a traditional safe haven against rising inflation, which rose 0.5 per cent.

In more volatile cryptocurrency markets, bitcoin pushed on from the prior day's 20 per cent rally to hit a high of $US48,216.09, before edging off its highs to trade around $US47,000.

Still underpinning the gains was a surprise announcement from Tesla Inc on Monday that it had invested around $US1.5 billion in the virtual currency and expects to accept it as payment for its cars in the future.