LONDON -- World shares hit their highest level in a week Friday and bonds and oil rose after two U.S. central bankers moved to calm fears of an early withdrawal of monetary stimulus.
Their efforts, combined with better economic data from Japan and an easing of credit concerns in China, lifted MSCI's world equity index 0.5 percent on Friday, putting it on course to reverse five weeks of losses.
But the gains were seen as limited with investors avoiding large bets on the final trading day of an unsettled quarter while pondering the impact of a broader shift in Fed policy.
"It's been a tough quarter, the easy game is up and markets have to reevaluate where they stand," said Wouter Sturkenboom, Investment Strategist at Russell Investments.
Global stock, bond and commodity markets have been notably volatile since Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke signalled last week the bank would soon cut the pace of its bond buying unless the economic recovery slowed.
Two Fed policymakers came out Thursday to reassure investors that any winding down of stimulus was still some way off, though its ultimate course was set.
"The market is going to have to base its views about equities and currencies on actual economic growth rather than simply the fact that there's cheap money there," said Simon Derrick, chief currency strategist at Bank of New York Mellon (BK).
"I think that's a fundamental shift."
The Fed's signal that the era of cheap money is drawing to a close has already hit gold as its value as a hedge against inflation evaporates.
The metal dropped to a three-year low near $1,200 an ounce on Friday, putting it on course for its worst quarterly performance in over half a century.
The end-of-quarter maneuvering was cited behind a rise in the euro off a four-week low against the dollar to $1.3045, and helped the dollar rise against the yen by 0.5 percent at 98.92 yen.
The broad FTSE Eurofirst 300 index, which had opened higher in line with other world markets, pared the gains as end of quarter positioning took hold, leaving it on course to end June lower after a record 12 monthly rises.
Earlier, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan climbed 1.4 percent, pulling further away from an 11-month low and wiping out this week's losses. It was still down around 7 percent for the year.
Asia's rise followed Wall Street's rally on the Fed comments and Japanese data showing consumer prices stopped falling in May and labor demand reached a five-year high.
China's stock markets had also seen their biggest gains in two months after its central bank, which had let short-term borrowing costs spike to record highs, said it would ensure its policy supported a slowing economy.
Risk Outlook Changes
In the fixed income markets, European bonds shared in the more positive tone, with yields falling on core German debt and riskier Spanish and Italian paper.
But Patrick Jacq, European rate strategist at BNP Paribas, said investors would require higher yields in future in light of the Fed's policy shift. "Liquidity and credit risk assessment has changed since the Fed spoke about tapering off," he said.
In commodities, Brent crude oil futures climbed 29 cents to $103.11 on course for the first monthly rise in five months. Copper was flat but facing its biggest quarterly loss in almost two years, reflecting global growth concerns.
Ways Retirees are Making Money
Stocks, Bonds Rise Worldwide as Fed Fears Ease; Gold Sinks
Walking dogs is a great way to stay fit, and many working individuals and families simply don't have time to give their pets the exercise they need. Dog walkers can charge $15 to $25 an hour, per dog.
Websites like Etsy.com have exploded the market for handmade goods of all sorts in the past few years. While it takes a lot of work to make a full-time living selling crafts, many retirees, stay-at-home moms and 9-to-5 workers turn their hobby into part-time income by selling crafts online. Whether you love to knit scarves, hand-quilt throws or throw pottery, there's an online market for your craft.
Retired teachers aren't the only ones with potential tutoring skills. If you're good in math, reading or other basic skills, tutoring could be a lucrative option. Advertise your independent tutoring services through word-of-mouth or Craigslist, or join an online tutor-finding service like Wyzant. Another option is to sign up with a local non-profit that pays tutors for their services.
If you love shopping for antiques, collectibles or other unique finds, consider shopping for them and then reselling them. Cruise estate and garage sales to find great deals, which you can turn around and sell on eBay or Craigslist at a profit.
If you're good with a wrench and know your way around crown molding, consider advertising your handyman services. Your state may require that you become licensed, especially for certain types of work, so check with your state's contractor licensing board to get started.
Engineers, scientists, management experts and others can all form careers as consultants. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, consultants in management make a median annual wage of $75,250, but you can also consult part-time for a high hourly fee. Turning your one-time profession into consulting jobs may be easier and more lucrative than you'd think.
If you're still healthy and mobile yourself, consider spending time with older folks who need help with everyday activities. Elder care can involve basics like running errands or giving a shut-in some regular company, or more involved activities like basic hygiene and nursing. Either way, this can be a fulfilling option.
On the other end of the spectrum, you could spend time caring for kids. As long as you've got the energy to keep up with little ones, you could offer all day or after school care for local children or even your own grandchildren. Just be sure to get and stay up to date on the latest nutrition and safety recommendations.
Maybe you don't really want to have a job, but have extra space in your home that you don't need. Consider taking on a renter in your spare room or basement. If you're traveling a lot during retirement, you could also rent your whole home out for short-term vacations.
Starting a blog is a great way to share your passion with the world, while making some extra money. There are plenty of online resources to teach you how to start, run and monetize a blog on just about any topic that interests you.
If you'd like to work sometimes and not others, consider signing up for temporary work. As employers seek to cut costs, many are hiring temporary workers to fill a myriad of roles. Temp jobs can let you experience lots of different types of work during retirement.
If you love growing fruit and vegetables, consider selling your extra produce at farmer's markets. Heirloom produce is in high demand right now. Another option is to grow perennials that need to be split each year. Each time you split your plants, you can sell the extras to aspiring gardeners.
If you're a local history buff or love the arts, consider finding opportunities to be a local tour guide or museum guide. You could even start your own local tour business, if your area is frequented by travelers.
Upcycled furniture is all the rage today, but some people simply don't have the time to spray paint and decoupage old pieces to give them new life. Retirees could upgrade old pieces of furniture and sell them online or locally, or offer their services for custom furniture upgrades.