Global stocks rose amid strong corporate earnings growth, improving world economic data and a fourth-quarter surge in merger-and-acquisition activity. Political events also helped propel markets higher as investors cheered a $1.5 trillion tax cut in the U.S. and the re-election of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan.
Information technology stocks provided the largest gains, supported by investor enthusiasm for Apple’s new iPhone and other popular consumer tech products. Basic materials stocks also rallied on a brighter outlook for global economic growth. Heath care, utilities and telecommunication services stocks lagged the overall market.
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