U.S. stocks rose, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index toward a five-year high, as China’s exports beat estimates and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi sees an economic rebound later in 2013.
Ford Motor Co. climbed 3.3 percent after boosting its dividend. Apple Inc. gained 0.8 percent as Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook met with the chairman of China Mobile Ltd. Supervalu Inc. rose 14 percent after a Cerberus Capital Management LP-led investor group agreed to buy five of its chains in a transaction valued at about $3.3 billion. Tiffany & Co. fell 4.7 percent after the second-largest luxury jewelry retailer said earnings will be at the low end of its forecast.
The S&P 500 rose 0.4 percent to 1,466.70 at 10:17 a.m. New York time, surpassing the highest closing level since December 2007. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 42.62 points, or 0.3 percent, to 13,433.13. Trading in S&P 500 companies was 13 percent above the 30-day average at this time of day.
“China is definitely healing,” said Michael Mullaney, who helps manage $9.5 billion as chief investment officer at Fiduciary Trust in Boston. “Stocks started to do better after Draghi’s comments. People feel that the recovery will take hold. As long as we don’t see Greek-Portugal-Spain debacle in 2013, those markets should continue to do better.”
Stocks followed global equities higher as China’s overseas sales rose 14.1 percent in December from a year earlier, almost triple the 5 percent gain predicted. Draghi said “a gradual recovery should start” in the euro area later this year as ECB measures work their way through the economy. More Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week.
Investors also watched corporate results. Fourth-quarter profits at S&P 500 companies probably increased 2.9 percent, according to analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. That would be the second-slowest quarterly growth since 2009, the data show.
All 10 groups in the S&P 500 rose today as telephone and financial shares had the biggest gains. Energy and raw-material stocks advanced as the S&P GSCI gauge of 24 commodities climbed 0.8 percent.
Ford jumped 3.3 percent to $13.91. The second-largest U.S. automaker doubled its quarterly dividend to 10 cents per share after record profit margins boosted its cash. Ford, which resumed paying a dividend last year after a five-year hiatus, cited its strengthening business as the reason it is boosting the payout.
Apple added 0.8 percent to $521.01. Cook discussed “cooperation” with Chairman Xi Guohua at China Mobile’s headquarters in Beijing today. Cook is making his second visit to China in less than a year as Apple tries to reverse its shrinking share of the local smartphone market. The company’s growth in the world’s most populous nation has been limited by it only working with smaller carriers and by competition from domestic phone-makers.
Supervalu climbed 14 percent to $3.46. A Cerberus-led investor group agreed to acquire Supervalu’s Albertsons, Acme, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s and Star Market grocery stores. Cerberus also will lead a group to conduct a tender offer to buy as much as 30 percent of Supervalu’s common stock for $4 a share in cash, the companies said today in a statement.
News Corp. gained 1.7 percent to $26.83. The media company run by billionaire Rupert Murdoch was raised to outperform from market perform at Sanford C Bernstein & Co.
Tiffany slumped 4.7 percent to $60.28. High-income consumers’ confidence waned in the U.S. as the prospect of higher taxes approached, while sales of lower-priced jewelry continued to be under pressure during a holiday season that was muted for most retailers, David Schick, an analyst at Stifel Financial Corp., who recommends holding the shares, said in a Jan. 7 note.
Other luxury accessories makers slumped. Coach Inc. dropped 4.5 percent to $60.44 and Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. declined 1.3 percent to $52.60.
Investor sentiment toward U.S. stocks is poised to change for the better and contribute to a multiyear advance, according to Ralph Acampora, a partner and head of market research at Altaira Wealth Management LLC.
“I have never seen so many people so negative on the stock market for so long,” Acampora wrote yesterday in a posting on Twitter. The Minneapolis-based analyst has been a technical analyst, focusing on price charts, since 1966.
Optimism peaked in September 2011, judging by the average gap between the percentage of bulls and bears in the prior 52 weeks of American Association of Individual Investors surveys. The latest average was 2.6 percentage points, close to last year’s low of 2.02 points in July.
The potential for a sentiment shift was among 11 reasons that Acampora provided for being a “secular bull” in postings on Twitter, where he had about 3,750 followers as of yesterday. Gains in overseas stock markets and the 10-year Treasury note yield’s rise above 1.9 percent this month were among others.
“The March 2009 low was and is a generational low,” he wrote. “We will work our way irregularly higher.” The S&P 500 has more than doubled since dropping to a 12-year low of 676.53 on March 9, 2009.