* South African stocks hit record high
* MSCI EM stocks index just below record high
* U.S. stimulus hopes drive risk appetite
By Ambar Warrick
Jan 25 (Reuters) - Turkey's lira led gains across emerging market currencies on Monday after the S&P posited a stable outlook for the country, while Russia's rouble traded flat after logging steep losses last week on geopolitical tensions.
Turkey's lira TRY= rose 0.4% to the dollar, leading gains across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) after ratings agency Standards and Poors on Friday posited a stable economic outlook for the country, citing optimism over recent monetary tightening. on Monday also showed business confidence among Turkish manufacturers grew in January. towards the lira has improved after a series of interest rate hikes. The central bank has also vowed to combat lira weakness and high inflation with more action if necessary, and is expected to release its 2021 inflation forecast later this week.
Most other EMEA currencies rose on continued optimism over a $1.9 trillion stimulus package from the United States. Optimism over the package has driven gains in emerging market risk assets in recent weeks, with stocks .MSCIEF touching a series of record highs.
"Some investors remain concerned about the surge in COVID-19 mutations, but it's fiscal and monetary policies along with earnings that will determine the next move in equities," Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM wrote in a note.
"Expectations of substantial fiscal aid are keeping the bulls in charge, despite Republicans saying the $1.9 trillion package is too costly."
Russia's rouble RUB= was flat to the dollar after the Kremlin said it was open to dialogue with the United States. currency, and Russian stocks, had marked large losses last week on geopolitical risks related to the arrest of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
South Africa's rand ZAR= fell about 0.6% as investors weighed the possibility of more coronavirus-related lockdowns in the country. Still, the currency remains attractive due to relatively higher interest rates than most other emerging market economies.
South African stocks .JTOPI jumped more than 2% to a record high, boosted by retailer Woolworths (ASX: WOW ) Holdings Ltd WHLJ.J after it forecast a large jump in its first-half headline earnings per share. GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance in 2021, see http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance in 2021, see https://tmsnrt.rs/2OusNdX
For TOP NEWS across emerging markets CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see CEE/
For TURKISH market report, see .IS
For RUSSIAN market report, see RU/RUB
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