Stocks rally on confidence, housing data as Treasuries, yen fall

Global stocks rose for the first time in five days, commodities gained and Treasuries slid as U.S. reports showed consumer confidence reached the highest level since 2008 and home values jumped the most in seven years. The yen weakened while the dollar rose.

The MSCI All-Country World Index gained 0.5% at 3:26 p.m. in New York and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed 0.6% to 1,659.33. The 10-year Treasury yield added 14 basis points to 2.15%, the highest since April 2012. Japan’s currency slid against 15 of its 16 major peers as an adviser to the prime minister said the central bank can add to its stimulus. The S&P GSCI commodities gauge jumped 1%, the most in almost a month.

The Conference Board’s index of consumer sentiment climbed more than forecast to 76.2, the strongest level in more than five years. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values increased 10.9% in the 12 months through March, the most since April 2006. The Bank of Japan should loosen monetary policy further if needed, said Koichi Hamada, adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, while European Central Bank Executive Board Member Peter Praet said the central bank will continue to do what is necessary, according to an article in Handelsblatt.

“The confidence data is really inspiring,” Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC in Philadelphia, which manages $55 billion, said by telephone. “It’s reinforcing the picture that we continue to see strong momentum in the housing market, which is good news for the consumer’s wallet,” he said. “Our markets are responding somewhat favorably to news from Europe that there’s discussion of further stimulative activity. It’s a trifecta of good data points.”

Market Leaders

Nine out of 10 S&P 500 groups rose, as gauges of financial, commodity and and health-care shares rallied more than 0.8% to lead gains while utilities and telephone stocks posted the only declines. Merck & Co. added 1% after Jefferies & Co. lifted the stock to a buy. Exxon Mobil Corp. and Bank of America Corp. paced gains among the biggest U.S. companies, rising at least 0.9%. Tiffany & Co. increased 4.5% after reporting first-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ estimates amid growing demand in Asia.

Financial shares in the S&P 500 rallied 1% as a group. Moody’s Investors Service upgraded its view of the U.S. banking system to “stable” from “negative” for the first time since 2008, citing an improved operating environment and less risk from a weak economy. Lenders have built capital and reduced costs from bad credit, Moody’s said in a statement today.

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