Global stocks rose modestly, supported by strong corporate earnings and signs of improving economic growth in the U.S., Europe and Japan. Gains were tempered by political uncertainty around the world, including investor worries about upcoming elections in Germany and France. Emerging markets enjoyed the best returns, boosted in part by higher prices for raw materials.
Economically sensitive sectors generally outpaced defensive stocks, underscored by significant gains in the information technology and materials sectors. Consumer discretionary stocks also advanced amid healthy growth in inflation and consumer spending. Energy stocks declined as oil prices slipped on reports of a substantial rise in U.S. crude oil inventories.