China exports boost global stocks

optionMONSTER

Stocks are climbing this morning on further signs of acceleration in China.

S&P 500 futures have been climbing in the last hour and are up about 0.4 percent at the time of this writing. Europe and Asia showed similar gains, led by Japan's Nikkei. Commodities are especially bullish.

Chinese exports rose 14.1 percent in December, almost triple the 5 percent growth forecast by economists. Central Bank data also showed strong loan growth, another sign of improvement in the world's No. 2 economy.

The S&P 500 has been trading in a narrow range for the last six sessions after rallying sharply on  on Dec. 31 and Jan. 2. Most of the economic news has remained positive during that time, punctuated by continued U.S. job growth and strong data from Asia.

The market is also preparing for the onset of corporate earnings season in the next month. The big question is whether investors will focus on potential negatives or the hope of better macro growth in coming quarters.

Foreign-exchange and commodities are painting a solidly bullish picture today, more than one might expect given the modest gains in equities.

All the normal "risk on" correlations are at work in the currency market, with the euro, Australian dollar and Canadian dollar higher, while the Japanese yen is down across the board. Oil and copper are up by more than 1 percent on the strong China data. Precious metals and most agricultural foodstuffs are also climbing.

In company-specific news, Tiffany is down 9 percent in early trading after warning that profit would be at the lower end of its expected range. Discount retailer PriceSmart is also likely to be active after first-quarter earnings beat forecasts. Fischer Communications is also up after announcing that it may put itself up for sale.

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