Friday, 23 August 2013

US and European markets rise amid positive economic data

Markets rose on Thursday, shrugging off concerns of an impending reduction in monetary stimulus from the Federal Reserve. The S&P 500 rose 0.9 percent while the STOXX Europe 600 rose 1.0 percent.

Earlier on Thursday, however, Asian stocks had fallen. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 0.8 percent, with the Shanghai Composite falling 0.3 percent.

The decline in Chinese stocks came despite a report from HSBC on Thursday showing that its manufacturing PMI for China rebounded to 50.1 in August from 47.7 in July, indicating an end to contraction.

Also showing an end to contraction on Thursday was services activity in the euro area. Markit's services index for the euro area rose to 51.0 in August from 49.8 in July. With the manufacturing PMI also rising to 51.3 from 50.3, the eurozone composite index rose to 51.7 in August from 50.5 in July.

Meanwhile, US manufacturing activity maintained its expansion in August. Markit's US manufacturing PMI rose to 53.9 from 53.7 in July.

Adding to signs of growth in the US, a report from the Conference Board on Thursday showed that its index of US leading indicators rose 0.6 percent in July.

Sustained positive economic data from the US adds to the likelihood that the Fed will taper its bond purchases. Indeed, on Thursday, Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher told reporters on the sidelines of a manufacturing conference: “Personally I think the economy is strong enough to begin the process.”

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