U.S. Stocks Gain on Bank Earnings; Dollar, Yields Rise

NEW YORK (Reuters) —

European and U.S. stocks advanced on Friday, on track to close the week on a firmer note, while the dollar recovered as investors were encouraged by upbeat bank earnings and positive U.S. economic data.

Investors largely shrugged off the biggest fall in Chinese exports since 2009 to focus on U.S. data that suggested stronger growth. Market participants largely resumed buying across equity markets based on higher growth expectations that had tailed off this week, with auto and bank shares leading the way.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch kicked off the U.S. bank earnings season, reporting a 47 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit thanks to an upswing in market activity following the election of Donald Trump president on Nov. 8.

JP Morgan Chase also reported strong earnings, with a 24 percent rise in fourth-quarter profits.

U.S. economic data have also been a source of optimism as retail sales rose in December given strong demand for automobiles and furniture. Producer prices expanded as well.

“I think this reflects optimism about an uncertain future,” said Juan Perez, foreign exchange trader at Tempus Consulting in Washington. “If you look at things overall, they are not so terrible: retail sales are up, producer prices are up, the labor sector has been solid.”

In late morning trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 0.1 percent to 19,907.7, while the S&P 500 gained 0.3 percent to 2,276.72. The Nasdaq Composite , on the other hand, added 0.57 percent to 5,579.15.

The dollar, meanwhile, rebounded from losses against a basket of major currencies the previous day to trade slightly higher at 101.390, while it rose 0.3 percent against the yen to 115.07 yen.

But the dollar index was still headed for its worst weekly performance in more than two months.

The so-called reflation trade that had sent the dollar to a 14-year high last month was based on Trump’s campaign promises of increased fiscal spending, lower taxes, and deregulation, all of which would likely drive the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates faster than its normal pace.

In the bond market, U.S. Treasury yields rose across the board bolstered by Friday’s better-than-expected data such as the big rise in U.S. inflation expectations as shown in the University of Michigan consumer sentiment report.

“Trump optimism may be dying but he’s coming in with a Republican administration which is historically pro-business,” said Perez. “They’re going to deregulate, they’re going to open markets, they’re also going to expand economic growth by investing in infrastructure.”

Benchmark U.S. 10-year yields fell 13/32 in price, yielding 2.411 percent, up from Thursday’s 2.361 percent. German 10-year bond yields were also higher, up at 0.268 percent, from 0.234 percent late on Thursday.

Europe’s broad FTSEurofirst 300 index added 0.93 percent to 1,446.08.

Germany’s DAX was up 0.94 percent and Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.6 percent, on course for its 12th record high close and 14th consecutive daily gain.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.15 percent after rising to its highest since late October the previous session. It was up 1.8 percent for the week.

Japan’s Nikkei stock index finished up 0.8 percent, though it still ended the week down 0.9 percent.

In commodity markets, Brent crude was down 0.91 percent, at $55.5 a barrel, while U.S. crude fell 1.15 percent, at $52.4 per barrel. Spot gold fell 0.19 percent, to $1,193.28 an ounce, having risen overnight to a seven-week high above $1,200.

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