Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Stocks surge but economic data remain weak

The surge in US stocks on Monday spilled over into Asian and European stocks on Tuesday. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 4.1 percent to 113.47, its biggest advance since April 2009. The STOXX Europe 600 Index rose 4.4 percent to 229.91, its biggest gain since May 2010. A late sell-off left the Standard & Poor's 500 Index at 1,175.38 at the close on Tuesday for a gain of 1.1 percent.

The surge in stocks came despite lacklustre economic reports on Tuesday.

In the US, consumer confidence improved only marginally in September, the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index edging up to 45.4 from 45.2 in August. The Richmond Federal Reserve's manufacturing index also improved to -6 from -10 in August but the S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of single-family homes in 20 metropolitan areas were unchanged in July on a seasonally adjusted basis.

In the UK, retail sales weakened, with the Confederation of British Industry's retail sales balance from the distributive trades survey declining to -15 in September, the lowest since May 2010, from -14 in August.

In Germany, consumer confidence data came in mixed on Tuesday. GfK reported that its forward-looking consumer-climate index is set to come in unchanged at 5.2 in October. However, the economic-expectations index has fallen sharply to 4.8 in September from 13.4 in August and 44.6 in July.

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