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Stocks rally, greenback slumps on view Fed to act

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Global stocks rallied and the U.S. dollar slid Friday as U.S. and German data lifted spirits while a housing report bolstered speculation the Federal Reserve will boost money supply to aid the struggling economy.

U.S. oil futures prices climbed above $76 US a barrel, buoyed by growing expectations that the Fed will pump another round of billions of dollars into the economy to encourage growth.

While the economic reports on U.S. durable goods orders and home sales were mixed, traders latched on to a rise in business spending in August as the latest sign the recovery is on firmer ground.

Wall Street gained almost 2 percent, putting U.S. stocks on course for four weeks of gains, while European equity indexes closed up about 1 percent. Emerging markets lagged, advancing 0.7 percent, according to an MSCI index.

U.S. Treasury debt and Bund futures fell in volatile trading as the U.S. data supported a shift out of government bonds and into riskier assets.

And the U.S. dollar tumbled against a basket of currencies to a low last seen in May on a stronger-than-expected rise in the German Ifo business climate index for September to its highest level in more than three years.

The euro was up 1.24 percent at $1.3475.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 178.91 points, or 1.68 percent, at 10,841.33. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 21.35 points, or 1.90 percent, at 1,146.18. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 44.70 points, or 1.92 percent, at 2,371.78.

The U.S. data reinforced the view that the Fed may provide more monetary support to help the economy.

"Overall, both durables and housing numbers suggest the economy is still weak and that the Federal Reserve is still on track for a second round of quantitative easing," said Nick Bennenbroek, head of FX strategy at Wells Fargo in New York.

Gold rallied to record highs in Europe, with spot prices knocking on the door of $1,300 an ounce on expectations of further quantitative easing in the United States.

Spot gold hit an all-time high of $1,299.95 an ounce, and later eased to $1,295.25.

"The U.S. Fed is obviously contemplating, and the market is expecting, some kind of statement on quantitative easing," said Deutsche Bank analyst Daniel Brebner. "The influx of new money in the system raises longer-term expectations for inflationary forces."

News of revived business spending drew investors away from safe-haven government debt after a week-long bond rally. U.S. traders cited talk of a very large asset allocation trade from bonds to equities.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was down 12/32 in price to yield 2.59 percent.

Bund futures fell by over half a point, settling 54 ticks lower at 130.85.

"It's risk-on again after a decent set of durable goods numbers. Despite the fact the headline number was weaker, supporting data were fairly strong," said Philip Shaw, chief economist at Investec in London.

European stocks reversed losses and staged a late rally, with Spain's tougher-than-expected 2011 budget helping lift the mood as investors were reassured of the country's willingness to tackle its debt.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares closed 1.2 percent higher at 1,078.15 points.

Crude oil advanced. U.S. light sweet crude oil rose $1.18, or 1.6 percent, to $76.36 a barrel.

Japan's Nikkei share average dropped 1 percent to end at 9,471.67 after initially climbing on the yen intervention talk. The MSCI index for Asia ex-Japan stocks was up 0.5 percent.

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