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Coronavirus
VERY HIGH Source: covid.gov.pk
Pakistan Deaths
27,072
6824hr
Pakistan Cases
1,218,749
2,92824hr
5.08% positivity
Sindh
448,658
Punjab
419,423
Balochistan
32,707
Islamabad
103,720
KPK
170,391

NEW YORK: Oil prices built on recent gains on Friday on fears any US military attack on Iran would disrupt flows from the Middle East, while increases on Wall Street kept a gauge of global stock markets near seven-week highs.

Gold prices climbed to near six-year highs and were on track for their best week in three years.

Central banks have dominated economic news this week, with the Federal Reserve signaling the potential for a US interest  rate cut later this year and the European Central Bank hinting at stimulus measures.

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.02pc, as Wall Street's main indexes climbed in morning trading a day after the benchmark S&P 500 notched a record high.

US stocks picked up steam after a Wall Street Journal report said US Vice President Mike Pence will postpone his planned speech on China policy next week to avoid stoking additional tensions ahead of President Donald Trump's planned meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping next week.

Concerns about a trade war between the two countries undermining the global economy have clouded the outlook for markets.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 120.37 points, or 0.45pc, to 26,873.54, the S&P 500 gained 6.78 points, or 0.23pc, to 2,960.96 and the Nasdaq Composite  added 10.94 points, or 0.14pc, to 8,062.28.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.33pc.

Trump said he had aborted a military strike on Iran because such a response to Tehran's downing of an unmanned US surveillance drone would have caused a disproportionate loss of life.

Spot gold added 0.5pc to $1,394.31 an ounce, surpassing the key $1,400 level during the session.

"There is a perfect mix of ingredients for gold's rush to the top - a weak macroeconomic environment, low bond yields, soft dollar and rising geopolitical tensions," said Howie Lee, an economist at OCBC Bank.

Oil futures rallied on fears of a disruption to flows in the Middle East, which provides more than a fifth of the world's oil output.

"A lot of the oil produced in the world comes from very troubled areas, and occasionally we get reminders of that," said Gene McGillian, vice president at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

US crude rose 0.67pc to $57.45 per barrel and Brent  was last at $65.09, up 0.99pc on the day.

Government bond yields in the United States and Europe edged higher but remained near record or multi-year lows after the dovish statements from the central banks.

Benchmark 10-year US Treasury notes last fell 18/32 in price to yield 2.0609pc, from 2.001pc late on Thursday.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, fell 0.1pc, with the euro up 0.27pc to $1.1321.

The yen rose to a five-month high versus the dollar during the session on growing tensions between Iran and the United States.

Copyright Reuters, 2019

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