U.S. Stocks Rise, Treasuries Drop on Sales, Jobs Data

New York (Mar 13)  The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose toward a record and Treasuries fell after reports showed jobless claims declined and retail sales topped estimates. Copper declined on weaker-than-estimated China data.

The S&P 500 (SPX) added 0.2 percent at 9:32 a.m. in New York. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index swung between gains and losses. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index dropped 0.4 percent after earlier rising 1.8 percent. Russian stocks, the world’s worst performers this year, slid as tension persisted in Ukraine. The euro climbed to the highest level in more than two years against the dollar. The yield on 10-year Irish bonds fell three basis points to 3.01 percent. Copper slipped 0.3 percent.

U.S. retail sales rose in February for the first time in three months, and jobless claims unexpectedly fell last week to the lowest level since November, data showed today. China’s industrial output expanded 8.6 percent through January and February, less than the 9.5 percent predicted by analysts in a Bloomberg survey, official data showed. The U.S. and Germany stepped up pressure on Russia to back down from plans to annex Crimea from Ukraine after the region holds a referendum in three days.

“It is good news and the numbers are very positive,” Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab Corp. which manages $2.2 trillion in client assets, said by phone. “The markets are in the mode where we’re hitting records highs domestically and there are very few things to make the market move higher.”

Source: Bloomberg