Stocks, dollar buoyed by US retail sales data

Stocks, dollar buoyed by US retail sales data

New York: World stocks rose, nearing a two-year high set in November, and the dollar rebounded after stronger-than-expected US consumer spending boosted optimism of a lasting global economic recovery.

US benchmark Treasury yields jumped to their highest levels in more than six months after US retail sales rose for a fifth straight month.

The US producer price index also increased more than anticipated, further evidence to suggest economic growth was accelerating.

European shares pared losses after the US data, which affirmed a stocks rally that has pushed up the S&P 500 index by 6% since 29 Novovember. Investors also expected the US compromise US plan that includes an extension of tax cuts and jobless benefits and a payroll tax credit, to boost the economy.

“The hand-off to 2011 looks very promising," Tom Porcelli, chief US economist at RBC Capital Markets, said. “Very solid ... there is no other way to describe the retails sales report."

The rise in retail sales showed that consumers are ramping up spending in the thick of the critical holiday shopping season, said Jim Baird, partner and chief investment strategist at Michigan-based Plante Moran Financial Advisors.

Investors also awaited a meeting of the US Federal Reserve, with policymakers expected to assess the central bank’s $600 billion bond-buying program but not signal any shift in its monetary easing programme.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 54.57 points, or 0.48%, to 11,483.13. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed 4.19 points, or 0.34%, to 1,244.65 and the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 10.66 points, or 0.41%, to 2,635.57.

Consumer electronics retailer Best Buy Inc reported a decline in quarterly profit and sales, pushing its shares down 14.7%. The company also cut its full-year outlook, citing weak demand in its key US market.

The MSCI world equity index and the Thomson Reuters global stock index both rose about a one-third of a percent. The MSCI index is just below a two-year high set in November.

China’s extension of special reserve requirements for top banks also supported world stocks and commodities as expectations rose that Beijing was unlikely to aggressively cool down its economy, with the rest of the world relying on China’s robust growth.

Chinese stocks rose 0.1%. A leading official newspaper reported China will probably target a limit of about 7.5 trillion yuan ($1.1 trillion) in new loans next year, an indication that policy could be slightly looser than expected.

In Europe, the FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.2% near its close of trading. Emerging stocks added 0.6%.

Treasuries dropped, adding to a sharp selloff since the tax deal between US. President Barack Obama and Republican lawmakers sparked concerns over a widening federal budget gap and the inflationary impact of faster growth.

“A more robust US growth outlook has taken over the mantle of market leadership," Goldman Sachs wrote to clients.

US Treasury 10-year note yields, which influence consumer and corporate borrowing costs, rose 0.08 percentage point to 3.36%.

The euro gave up gains against the dollar as U.S. bond yields edged higher and investors squared positions ahead of the Fed’s final meeting for 2010. The euro earlier hit a three-week high against the dollar.

The dollar gained 0.21% against a basket of major trading-partner currencies. The euro fell 0.07% to $1.3380. Against the Japanese yen, the dollar rose 0.19% to 83.56 yen.

In commodities, U.S. light sweet crude oil fell 46 cents, or 0.52%, to $88.15 per barrel. Gold rose $3.00, or 0.22%, to $1396.10.