Global Stocks Extend 8-Day Gain; Gold, Spanish Bonds Rise
Stocks rose, with the MSCI World Index extending its longest advance in 11 months, as a late-day rally in technology shares helped the U.S. market reverse an early drop. The euro gained as a Spanish bond sale eased concern the region’s debt crisis will worsen. Gold rallied.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed 0.1 percent to 1,116.04 at 4 p.m. in New York, reclaiming its advance for the year along with the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The MSCI World, a gauge of equities in 24 developed markets, increased 0.2 percent for an eighth straight gain. The euro strengthened 0.6 percent to almost $1.24, while gold futures rose 1.5 percent to $1,248.70 an ounce, approaching a record. Treasuries surged.
Apple Inc. climbed to a record and paced the advance in technology shares that helped the S&P 500 recover from a 0.8 percent drop spurred by a lower-than-estimated reading in the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s factory index and an unexpected jump in jobless claims. Spanish bonds rallied as the nation sold $4.3 billion in debt, the maximum set for the auction, bolstering optimism Europe’s crisis is contained.
“Although the initial reaction to the claims numbers and the Philadelphia Fed number was a kneejerk negative, a little bit more thoughtful reflection on the numbers led to a more positive conclusion,” said Hugh Johnson, who oversees $1.85 billion as chairman of Albany, New York-based Johnson Illington. “When investors had a chance to digest and assess the news, they should have reached the conclusion that the economy continues to expand, albeit at a slow pace.”
Apple Hits Record
Apple rallied 1.7 percent to a record price of $271.87. The customer base for the iPhone may top 100 million users next year, with demand for the soon-to-be-released iPhone 4 helping to persuade more buyers to embrace the smartphone, Morgan Stanley said. First Solar Inc. jumped 3.9 percent to lead industrial shares higher after Credit Suisse Group AG advised buying the stock.
The S&P 500 tumbled 14 percent from a 19-month high in April through June 7 amid concern Europe’s debt crisis and the worst oil spill in U.S. history will stifle the economic recovery. The index has risen 6.2 percent since and may extend its rebound to 12 percent, said Ralph Acampora, whose career as a technical analyst began in 1966.
“The damage in price and the damage in psychology has set us up on a very short-term basis for a good recovery,” Acampora said. Technical analysts view pessimism as a sign that stocks may rise, because it indicates investors have capacity to buy shares after avoiding the market.
200-Day Moving Average
The S&P 500 today remained above its 200-day average for a third day after sinking below it for about a month. Tomorrow’s expiration of stock options, coupled with the S&P’s quarterly index rebalancing on the same day, resulted “in massive technical noise today,” said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co. in New York.
The late-day rally in stocks came after U.S. bond markets largely closed. Treasuries rose, pushing two-year yields to as low as 0.69 percent, after the increase in jobless claims and a drop in consumer prices spurred bets the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates low. The yield on the 10-year note fell 7 basis points, or 0.07 percentage point, to 3.19 percent.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s general economic index slid to a 10-month low of 8, less than half the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Initial U.S. jobless claims rose to 472,000 last week, indicating firings remain elevated even as the economy recovers. The index of leading indicators, a gauge of the outlook for growth, climbed 0.4 percent in May, according to the Conference Board. Consumer prices decreased 0.2 percent in May, the government said.
“The economic numbers are still somewhat concerning,” said Brett Hryb, part of a group that manages $2.6 billion at MFC Global Investment Management in Toronto. “We have a very long-tailed recovery as opposed to a V-shaped bounce back. The gain in Treasuries and gold fall into the flight to safety. Gold is the net beneficiary every time the market is unsure.”
General Electric Co., through its finance arm, sold $850 million of bonds backed by credit-card payments, GE’s biggest such sale in nine months, according to a person familiar with the offering. The top-rated securities, maturing in about three years, yield 75 basis points more than the benchmark swap rate, said the person, who declined to be identified because the terms aren’t public.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.2 percent, paring a 0.7 percent rally. Spain sold 3.5 billion euros ($4.3 billion) of 10-year and 30-year bonds at yields lower than the prevailing market rates, attracting bids worth as much as 2.45 times the securities on offer, assuaging concern that it would face difficulty meeting bond repayments.
Spain’s gauge of 35 stocks increased 0.7 percent. Spanish bonds rose, with the yield on the 10-year note falling from the highest level in almost two years. The yield dropped 11 basis points to 4.77 percent. The difference in yield, or spread, between German and Spanish 10-year government bonds narrowed 10 basis points to 211 basis points.
Spain is trying to convince investors it can cut the euro- region’s third-largest deficit, while propping up the country’s savings banks and lifting the economy out of a two-year slump. Spain, which faces 24.7 billion euros of maturing debt in July, had seen the risk premium on its 10-year bonds rise to a decade high on concern it may need to tap a European rescue fund.
BP Plc, battling to contain the worst oil spill in U.S. history, rallied 6.7 percent in London then lost 0.4 percent in New York. The shares have tumbled more than 45 percent on both exchanges since the April 20 explosion that triggered the spill.
The company’s Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward was denounced by U.S. lawmakers today for stonewalling as he failed to answer questions about the causes of the spill. BP scrapped dividends and pledged asset sales to meet President Barack Obama’s demand for a $20 billion fund to help victims. The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board will look for the causes of the explosion, Chairman John Bresland said.
The euro rose 0.6 percent to $1.2389 and earlier topped $1.24 for the first time in almost three weeks as Spain’s bond sale bolstered confidence in the currency. The dollar weakened against 13 of 16 major currencies, led by a 1.7 percent drop versus the Swiss franc.
The Swiss franc approached an all-time high against the euro after the central bank softened its stance on fighting franc gains as deflation risks ease. The Swiss National Bank, which has been buying foreign currencies since March 2009 to counter the threat of deflation, said today that those risks have “largely disappeared.”
Emerging Markets, Commodities
The MSCI Emerging Markets Index rose 0.4 percent, climbing for an eighth day in the longest stretch of gains in two months. Benchmark indexes in Turkey, Indonesia, Egypt and Romania climbed at least 0.9 percent.
Crude oil fell for the first time this week, slipping 1.1 percent to $76.79 a barrel. Copper futures for September delivery slid 8.95 cents, or 3 percent, to $2.924 a pound on the Comex in New York.
The Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of commodities retreated for the first time in nine days, losing 0.3 percent and snapping its longest streak of gains in three years.