Dizzying Week for Stocks Ends With Rallies From Europe to U.S.

Stock investors got jolted in a zigzag week, with plunges around the world giving way to the biggest rallies in at least three years for China and Europe.

Spurred by optimism on Greece, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 4.3 percent on Thursday and Friday, erasing earlier losses with the biggest two-day advance since 2011. The Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index jumped 11 percent in two sessions, the most in almost seven years, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 1.2 percent Friday to wipe out a weekly decline.

While investors have sometimes come to regret bouts of bullishness of late, the end-of-week gains defused global markets where turbulence has ruled for the last month. The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index decreased 16 percent on Friday, the biggest drop of the year.

“We’re clearly ending the week with a loud sigh of relief,” said Daniel Murray, head of research at EFG Asset Management in London. “It’s been interesting, but I think we all look forward to moving on.”

Stocks are advancing in a global economy that while not exactly surging, is still growing. Morgan Stanley predicts worldwide expansion of almost 4 percent in the second half of this year, up from 2.9 percent in the first six months. The International Monetary Fund sees 2015 growth of 3.3 percent.

The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 1.4 percent for the week amid speculation that Greece may finally secure a bailout. Shares had earlier tumbled to the lowest level since February, flirting with a correction, as Greek voters rejected austerity.

Peripheral Markets

Equities in Europe’s so-called peripheral markets saw the biggest swings -- first bearing the brunt of a two-day selloff following the Greek vote, then rebounding.

Spain’s IBEX 35 Index has surged 6.7 percent since Tuesday’s close, the most since 2012, while Portugal’s PSI 20 jumped 8.7 percent, the biggest three-day advance since 2010. In Italy, the FTSE MIB added 9.4 percent.

The Athens stock exchange will stay closed through July 13. A U.S.-listed exchange-traded fund tracking its stocks climbed 3.8 percent for the week, paring its loss since the bourse closed on June 29 to 4.4 percent.

The prospect of a deal to end a standoff between creditors and Greece’s Syriza-led government brought relief to financial markets. After months of escalating tension and price swings, Greece offered to meet most of the demands made by creditors in exchange for a bailout of 53.5 billion euros ($60 billion). The proposal still faced a weekend of political wrangling.

China Markets

Aiding global sentiment was the rebound in China, where unprecedented government intervention helped curb a stock rout that erased $3.9 trillion in less than a month.

The Shanghai Composite Index rallied 4.5 percent to 3,877.80 at Friday’s close, adding to Thursday’s 5.8 percent surge. With more than 1,300 companies still halted on mainland exchanges, trading was limited to 53 percent of the market.

Official measures to support shares became more extreme during the week as declines deepened. They included a ban on stockholders and executives from selling stakes in listed companies for six months, an order for companies to buy equities and an investigation into short-selling.

The rebound pared losses by the Shanghai Composite since its June 12 high to 25 percent. While the median price-to-earnings ratio in China has dropped to 57 from 108 at the height of the rally, valuations are almost three times as high as those on the S&P 500.

U.S. Volatility

U.S. equity investors watched stocks slip below a support level untouched since October, only to climb back to enter the weekend with the strongest momentum in two months.

The S&P 500 ended flat, masking a volatile week. Stocks had the fourth-biggest drop of the year Wednesday that sent the benchmark gauge below its average price for the past 200 days, a move that has sparked rebounds in the past. Equities rallied 1.2 percent Friday, the best showing since May 8.

The VIX, which jumped 19 percent in the first four days of the week, erased nearly all of that on the last day as the gauge retreated the most since December.

“It was a volatile week, that’s for sure,” said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist in New York at BTIG LLC. “Clearly investors are focused squarely on Greek negotiations and the Chinese stock market, but the ramifications of both appear to be limited, hence the end-of-the week rally.”

China and Greece diverted attention from U.S. economic data and the path of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy, as investors grow concerned about global growth.

Fed Minutes

While the IMF on Thursday cut its forecast for global growth this year, citing a weaker first quarter in the U.S., it expressed confidence that market turbulence from China to Greece won’t cause widespread damage.

Minutes of the Federal Reserve’s June meeting, published Wednesday, indicated officials thought tighter monetary policy was warranted, despite concern over risk from abroad. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Friday she still expects to raise interest rates this year.

Alcoa Inc. unofficially kicked off the earnings season Wednesday. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. are among S&P 500 firms reporting results next week. Analysts project earnings for companies on the gauge dropped 6.4 percent in the second quarter.

“We could end up with some positive surprises,” said John Manley, who helps oversee about $233 billion as chief equity strategist for Wells Fargo Funds Management in New York. “If we don’t, I’ll have to go back to the drawing board.”

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