U.S. stocks advanced, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to the highest level in five years, amid better-than-estimated data on Chinese exports.
Financial shares had the biggest gain in the S&P 500 among 10 industry groups as Bank of America Corp. and Morgan Stanley rallied at least 3 percent. Ford (F) Motor Co. climbed 2.7 percent after boosting its dividend. Supervalu Inc. (SVU) rose 14 percent as a Cerberus Capital Management LP-led investor group agreed to buy five of its chains in a deal valued at about $3.3 billion.
The S&P 500 advanced 0.8 percent to 1,472.12 at 4 p.m. New York time, the highest level since December 2007. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 80.71 points, or 0.6 percent, to 13,471.22. About 6.8 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, or 9.9 percent above the three-month average
The Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY)advanced 1.5 percent, heading for its ninth week of gains and the longest winning streak since December 1988, as the yen fell and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the spending package to help accelerate a recovery from a recession.
The benchmark MSCI Asia Pacific rose yesterday to the highest level since August 2011 as Chinese export data beat forecasts. Shares on the gauge traded at 14.2 times estimated earnings, compared with 13.3 times for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12 times for the Europe Stoxx 600 Index.
European shares are expected to open higher on Friday, buoyed by the decisions by the European Central bank (ECB) and Bank of England (BoE) to keep monetary policies unchanged.
Data expected from Europe Friday includes U.K. manufacturing and industrial output for November, Swiss inflation figures for December and Spanish industrial output for November. Elsewhere, European Parliament president Martin Schulz will make his first official visit Portugal on Friday to meet with the country's politicians.
The yen touched the weakest level since June 2010 against the dollar on speculation the Bank of Japan (8301)will cooperate with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government to ramp up efforts to stimulate the economy.
The yen touched 89.35 per greenback, the weakest since June 29, 2010, before trading at 89.08 at 2:58 p.m. in Tokyo, 0.3 percent lower than yesterday’s close. It’s poised to complete a ninth week of losses, the longest losing streak since 1989.
U.S. and Australian bonds fell, extending losses this year, after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the euro-area economy will return to health in 2013
The extra yield 10-year Treasuries offer over same-maturity German securities narrowed to 34 basis points yesterday, the smallest gap in the past month, reflecting an increase in bund rates. A U.S. report today may show exports rebounded, after China reported a surge in overseas shipments, indicating improvement in the world’s two biggest economies.
The markets all have top-level investment-grade rankings from the major rating companies, making them a haven when investors are seeking safety, while tending to lag behind stocks when money managers are hunting for higher-yielding assets.
Oil traded near the highest level in almost four months, extending the longest weekly rising streak since August, as Saudi Arabia cut production and investors speculated a global economic recovery will boost fuel demand.
West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery was at $93.92 a barrel, up 10 cents, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchangeat 1:40 p.m. Singapore time. Brent oil for February settlement on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange slid 32 cents to $111.57 a barrel.
Spot gold was at $1,673.40 by 1:27 p.m.in Singapore, after declining as much as 0.3 percent to $1,671.30. The metal is 1.1 percent higher this week, set to end the worst run of weekly losses since 2004. Spot platinum gained as much as 0.4 percent to $1,636.50 an ounce, the highest since Dec. 12, and is up 5 percent this week in the best showing since Sept. 14