Tuesday, 24 December 2013

US stocks hit record as growth rises above trend

Global stocks rose to the highest level in almost six years on Monday. The MSCI All-Country World Index rose 0.6 percent while the S&P 500 rose 0.5 percent to close at another record high.

US economic data on Monday were positive.

The Chicago Federal Reserve's national activity index rose to +0.60 in November from -0.07 in October. The three-month moving average rose to +0.25 in November, the highest reading since February 2012, from +0.12 in October. According to the Chicago Fed, the three-month average showed that economic growth was above historical trend.

US economic growth in November was helped by increased consumer spending. Consumer spending rose 0.5 percent in November as income rose 0.2 percent. With the price index based on consumer spending unchanged last month, growth in real consumer spending was the highest since February 2012.

In another sign of an improving consumer outlook, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's index of consumer sentiment jumped to 82.5 this month, unchanged from the preliminary reading and the highest since July, from 75.1 in November.

The improving US economy has been acknowledged by the International Monetary Fund. Speaking on NBC's “Meet the Press”, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said that with more certainty for 2014 on the budget and monetary policy, and good numbers showing that growth is picking up and employing going down, she sees “a much stronger outlook for 2014, which brings us to raising our forecast”.

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