U.S. News

Strength in U.S. stocks sent the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to the highest level since December 2007, after data showed employers added workers in December at about the same pace as in November.

Financials and materials were the biggest gainers among the S&P 500’s 10 major sectors.

Eli Lilly & Co. jumped 3.7 per cent as it forecast 2013 earnings above analyst estimates. Citigroup Inc. rose 2.5 per cent after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. added the bank to its conviction buy list.

Avon Products Inc. gained 3.2 per cent as Bank of America Corp. raised its rating on the stock.

Apple Inc. slipped 2.8 per cent for the biggest drop in the S&P 500 as technology shares tumbled.

Alcoa Inc.  rallied 2.1%, making it the top gainer in the Dow, with the Co. due to report fourth-quarter results on Tuesday, marking the unofficial start of corporate earnings-reporting season.

More than 6.1 billion shares traded hands on U.S. exchanges Friday in line with the three-month average.

Asian News

More than five stocks fell for every four that rose on MSCI’s Asian gauge. The MSCI index is valued at 17 times reported earnings, the highest since June 2010, after a 20 per cent rally since last year’s June 4 low. That compares with a multiple of 15.8 times for the MSCI All-Country World Index. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average sank 0.8 per cent from a 22-month high. Taiwan’s Taiex Index slid 0.7 per cent. The Philippine Stock Exchange Composite Index advanced 1.1 per cent to a record. Softbank Corp. (9984) fell 1.9 per cent in Tokyo because of a planned complaint regarding its proposed purchase of about 70 per cent of Sprint Nextel Corp. Crest Financial Corp. said Jan. 4 it will ask the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to block the acquisition. China’s stocks rose, sending the CSI 300 Index into a bull market, amid signs of an economic recovery in the world’s second-largest economy. The gauge tracking 300 yuan-denominated A shares traded in Shanghai and Shenzhen gained 0.5 per cent to 2,535.99 at the close, posting a 20 per cent advance since Dec. 3. The Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.4 per cent to 2,285.36 for a 17 per cent jump since Dec. 3. A gain of 20 per cent or more signals a bull market to some investors.

European News

European stock futures are  little changed, amid concern the U.S. budget deal won’t reduce the deficit quickly enough. U.S. index futures were little changed. European lenders may move after global central bank chiefs agreed to water down and delay a planned bank liquidity rule. Air France-KLM Group might be active after Il Messaggero reported the airline may buy the 75 per cent of Alitalia SpA it doesn’t own. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. recommended a sell of Telefonica Deutschland Holding AG.

Bonds

Unprecedented stimulus by central banks from the U.S. to Japan drove up demand for stocks and bonds last year. Fixed- income securities around the world returned more than the average of the past 16 years in 2012, and the value of global equities increased by $6.5 trillion as the MSCI All-Country World Index rose 13 per cent.

Commodities

Spot gold rose 0.2 percent to $1,658.42 an ounce in Singapore. Cash silver rose 0.1 per cent to $30.2563 an ounce, after dropping to the lowest since August on Jan. 4. Platinum gained 0.4 per cent and palladium was little changed.

Currencies

The yen rallied from a 2 1/2 year low against the dollar after a technical gauge showed it was the most oversold in more than a decade. The dollar gained last week after minutes from the Fed meeting on Dec. 11-12 showed that board members said they’ll probably end $85 billion in monthly bond purchases, the third round of so-called quantitative easing, some time in 2013.