Published October 15, 2012
NEW YORK – Global stocks rose on Monday on a much higher-than-expected rate of growth in Chinese exports and hopes Spain was close to asking for a bailout, while copper touched a one-month low on an outlook for weak demand.
Upbeat earnings from Citigroup and U.S. retail sales data offered some support, but caution remained ahead of data due on Thursday expected to show China, the world's second-largest economy, closed its seventh straight quarter of slowing growth in September.
Wall Street rose in choppy trading following last week's declines, the largest in four months, as Citigroup posted solid earnings and stronger September retail sales signaled steady U.S. growth.
"After big declines last week we have a strong Citi earnings and positive European news. In the short term it takes European stress out and allows markets to focus on earnings and the U.S. consumer," said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey.
Citigroup shares rose as much as 4.9 percent to $36.47, the highest in more than six months.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 60.03 points, or 0.45 percent, to 13,388.88. The S&P 500 gained 5.86 points, or 0.41 percent, to 1,434.45. The Nasdaq Composite added 7.49 points, or 0.25 percent, to 3,051.60.
The S&P was holding above technical support at its 50-day average, just above 1,429. The average is at its highest since February 2008.
An MSCI index of global shares added 0.3 percent while the FTSEurofirst 300 index <.FTEU3> of top European shares unofficially closed up 0.48 percent.
Spain could ask for financial aid from the euro zone next month and if it does, the request would likely be dealt with alongside a revised loan program for Greece and a bailout for Cyprus, euro zone officials said.
The euro surrendered gains to trade slightly lower against the U.S. dollar as traders looked for more clarity on the potential bailout for Spain.
Uncertainty over when Madrid will ask for financial aid -- a condition for a bailout -- and over whether Greece can agree on new austerity measures with its indebted lenders, has discouraged some investors from buying the euro in recent weeks.
At the same time, expectations that the single currency will rally once Spain seeks a rescue package have kept market players from betting heavily against it.
"With no important data due the rest of today, headlines out of Europe will be the main driver over the coming 24 hours," said Christopher Vecchio, currency analyst at DailyFX in New York.
The single currency was trading down 0.02 percent at $1.2949.
Signs that Greece may get a fresh aid package prompted big gains in Greek debt. The benchmark Greek 10-year bond yield was down on the day at 17.55 percent, the lowest since August 2011.
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was down 3/32, with the yield at 1.6664 percent.
Demand for Greek bonds has been steadily improving as a result of recent comments from German officials, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, about the Athens government's efforts on economic reform. This has eased fears that Greece would ultimately be forced out of the euro zone.
Benchmark copper touched a one-month low on the London Metal Exchange on concerns about demand from China. Basic materials overall were posting losses, with the Thomson Reuters/Jefferies CRB commodities index off 1 percent.
Brent futures were flat as worries over weak global oil demand tempered positive Chinese and U.S. data.
Brent crude was up 1 cent to $114.61 a barrel, after sliding 75 cents in the previous session. U.S. oil was down 1.3 percent at $90.70.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos and Nick Olivari; editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Dan Grebler)