July 15, 2013 / 12:37 AM / in 4 years

Global shares edge higher on earnings, China data

Traders work at the trading post that trades Citigroup stock on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, in this October 16, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/Files

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stock markets around the world edged higher on Monday as a milder-than-expected slowdown in China’s economic growth lifted sentiment and early reads on U.S. earnings were positive.

Gains were limited by a lower-than-expected read on U.S. retail sales, a sign that the world’s largest economy continues to have areas of weakness.

The U.S. dollar edged slightly higher while the euro was modestly lower. Yields on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell and Bunds slipped.

European stocks .FTEU3 rose 0.4 percent while the S&P 500 ended higher for an eighth straight session, its longest streak since January.

Shares were supported by strong earnings at Citigroup Inc. (C.N), which rose 2 percent to $51.81. The S&P financial sector .SPSY gained 0.4 percent.

That financials are “finally doing well in a convincing way is a major bullish indicator. We believe the economy is getting better, so they should be doing well,” said Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at the ConvergEx Group in New York. “I‘m impressed by the rally today.”

While earnings for the second quarter have largely come in stronger than expected so far, only a small percentage of S&P 500 components have reported to date. This week will bring results from dozens of companies, including numerous Dow components.

U.S. shares were also boosted by Boeing Co. (BA.N), which jumped 3.7 percent to $105.66 as an investigation of a fire that broke out on one of the company’s 787 Dreamliners did not blame the plane’s batteries.

U.S. retail sales rose 0.4 percent in June, only half the 0.8 percent rate economists polled by Reuters had expected. The disappointment was tempered by accelerating growth in New York State’s manufacturing sector in July, according to a report from the New York Federal Reserve that provides one of the earliest monthly guideposts to U.S. factory conditions.

The mixed picture added to the debate over when and how quickly the Federal Reserve would start to slow its stimulus program, which has been widely credited with driving major stock indexes to all-time highs.

China’s economic growth cooled to 7.5 percent in the second quarter from a year ago, while other figures showed a healthy rise in retail sales and a minor undershoot of forecasts in industrial output. Shares in Shanghai .SSEC rose 1 percent.

Comments by Beijing last week had led markets to think the numbers might have been weaker, so the outcome brought relief. Commodities initially drove higher, but like stocks, faced some profit-taking following a strong week last week.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI gained 19.96 points, or 0.13 percent, at 15,484.26. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index .SPX was up 2.31 points, or 0.14 percent, at 1,682.50. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was up 7.41 points, or 0.21 percent, at 3,607.49.

The MSCI world index .MIWD00000PUS rose 0.3 percent.

Brent crude oil rose 0.2 percent, reaching a three-month high, while gold and silver were both slightly higher. Copper prices fell.

The Australian dollar, closely attuned to China’s fortunes due to the country’s appetite for Aussie raw materials, rose 0.64 percent. The U.S. dollar was up 0.1 percent against a basket of currencies .DXY. The euro was flat at $1.3064.

In the bond market, trading was largely subdued. The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was up 13/32, the yield at 2.5428 percent.

Benchmark German Bund futures were 0.1 percent lower at 143.46, having gained almost two points last week, while a sell-off in Portuguese bonds steadied as traders awaited developments after the country’s political troubles.

Editing by Dan Grebler

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