U.S., Emerging Stocks Rise as Yen Weakens; Baht Declines

U.S. stocks climbed with emerging-market equities, while the yen weakened, as gains in manufacturing gauges in America and China boosted confidence in the world’s biggest economies. The Thai baht slid versus the dollar after the army staged a coup.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed 0.2 percent to 1,892.54 at 4 p.m. in New York, after earlier climbing to within two points of a record. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index added 0.9 percent to a six-month high. Japan’s currency depreciated 0.4 percent, the most in two weeks, to 101.78 per dollar. The Thai baht, the worst-performing currency in Asia in May, weakened 0.3 percent versus the greenback. Copper increased 0.6 percent and aluminum climbed 1.6 percent.

A preliminary gauge of U.S. manufacturing rose more than estimated as output accelerated, while sales of existing homes climbed in April for the first time in four months.China’s preliminary purchasing managers’ index exceeded estimates, suggesting that the economy is stabilizing. A slowdown for euro-area manufacturers strengthened the case for the European Central Bank to ease policy.

“It’s a grindingly slow, gradualistic uptrend of the U.S. economy,” David Young, founder chief executive officer of Newport Beach, California-based Anfield Capital Management LLC, which manages $100 million, said by phone. “We absolutely, positively must factor in the vast amount of liquidity looking for an interesting home. As a result, ‘sell in May and go away’ has been proven wrong, because where else are you going to go?”

Fed Comments

The S&P 500 has gained in four of the past five sessions. It advanced 0.8 percent yesterday as Federal Reserve policy makers said continued stimulus doesn’t risk fueling a jump in the inflation rate. Central bank officials said last month the economy is showing signs of picking up and the job market is improving. The equities benchmark closed May 13 at an all-time high of 1,897.45.

The Markit Economics preliminary index of U.S. manufacturing increased more than estimated in May as output accelerated. Existing home sales climbed in April for the first time in four months, data showed. Data showed jobless claims increased more than estimated in the week ended May 17.

The rate on 10-year Treasury notes rose two basis points to 2.56 percent. Earlier they climbed to 2.57 percent, the highest since May 14.

Among stocks moving, Williams-Sonoma Inc. advanced 8.2 percent to lead retailers higher after boosting its earnings forecast for the year. Hess Corp. jumped 1.1 percent after agreeing to sell its gasoline stations and retail business to Marathon Petroleum Corp. JD.com Inc., the Chinese online retailer that handled more than $20 billion of purchases on its website last year, rose 10 percent in its trading debut after a larger-than-expected initial public offering.

ETF Flows

Investors have withdrawn $3.9 billion from U.S. exchange-traded funds tracking consumer-discretionary stocks this year, more than any other industry, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The group has slumped 3.6 percent this year, the only one of the 10 main S&P 500 industries that has not advanced.

The Russell 2000 index of small caps has rallied 1.5 percent over two days. The index tumbled as much as 9.3 percent from a record on March 4 amid concern that prices have outrun earnings. Small-caps and Internet shares were among the biggest victims of the market retreat as investors fled last year’s best-performing equities.

Trading Range

The Dow Jones Internet Composite Index increased 0.8 percent today. The gauge is still down 15 percent from a 13-year high reached in March.

“There has been lots of individual stock volatility, but on the whole, not much impact on the market,” Todd Salamone, senior vice president of research at Schaeffer’s Investment Research, said via phone from Cincinnati. “To the extent there hasn’t been any huge surprises in the data could create a trading range as well.”

The MSCI gauge of emerging-markets equities gained for the fourth time in five days, rising to the highest level since October, as the manufacturing data from China added to signs of stabilization in the world’s second-largest economy after government moves to counter an economic slowdown. China is the world’s biggest exporter and the largest consumer of industrial metals.

Aluminum and nickel jumped at least 1 percent to lead metals higher. Copper futures for July delivery rose 0.6 percent to settle at $3.142 a pound in New York, and aluminum advanced 1.6 percent to to $1,796 a ton in London. Silver and gold rallied more than 0.5 percent, while palladium climbed to a 33-month high on supply concerns.

Good News

“The China manufacturing data is good news,” said Jacques Porta, who helps oversee $780 million at Ofi Gestion Privee in Paris. “The message from the Fed minutes -- that there will be no rate increase soon -- was also reassuring.”

Soybeans climbed to an 11-month high on signs of rising demand for livestock feed in China, the biggest consumer of the oilseed. Futures rose 0.9 percent to close at $15.1875 a bushel.

The S&P GSCI index of 24 commodities dropped 0.2 percent, after rising four straight days, as oil erased earlier gains. West Texas Intermediate crude fell from a one-month high, slipping 0.3 percent to settle at $103.74 a barrel in New York.

Two days after declaring martial law, Thai Army Chief Prayuth Chan-Ocha announced on national television alongside senior military officials that he was seizing control in order to restore peace. It is the country’s 12th military coup since 1932.

Martial Law

Overseas investors pulled $408 million from Thai stocks since martial law was declared early on May 20, according to exchange data, helping send the benchmark SET Index in Bangkok down 0.7 percent this month.

In Ukraine, fighting flared anew four days before a presidential election, with 16 people killed near a checkpoint in the deadliest clash for the military since the secession campaign began after Russia annexed Crimea.

Russia’s Micex Index slid 1.2 percent, declining for the first time in five days after rising to a three-month high, as investors sought more details of OAO Gazprom’s $400 billion accord to supply gas to China. The energy company’s shares dropped 1.9 percent.

The Stoxx Europe 600 advanced 0.2 percent, after earlier sliding 0.1 percent, to close near the highest level in more than six years.

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