A very impressive relief rally is in progress today.
It’s built on real good news on the U.S. economy, higher than expected growth in manufacturing in China (which is good short-term and bad long-term), strong statements from the European Central Bank—and relief that after a relentless pounding the financial markets of Spain and Portugal are still standing.
It doesn’t hurt either that we’ve turned the calendar page to December, on average the best performing month for the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index since 1950, and the second best for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, according to the Stock Trader’s Almanac.
After four days of very solid selling pressure, it doesn’t take much to get traders to move to the other side of the trade. At least for a while.
The good news from the United States includes the never-especially-reliable ADP employer survey that shows that companies added 93,000 jobs in November. We’ll get the somewhat reliable government jobs number on Friday, December 3. Investors also got better than expected news from the Institute for Supply Management’s survey of manufacturing activity, which fell to 56.6 in November. That was down from 56.9 in October but slightly above the 56.5 expected by economists, according to Bloomberg’s consensus estimate.
Manufacturing growth in China increased at a faster than expected pace. That’s reassuring if you’re worried that growth in China is about to slump. (It’s not so reassuring if you’re worried about fast growth triggering higher inflation leading to reductions in lending and higher interest rates that produce a slowdown in China’s economy later rather than sooner. See my post http://jubakam.com/2010/12/for-china-too-much-growth-is-a-bad-thing/ )
Tough talk from the European Central Bank has also helped this morning. Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said investors are underestimating the determination of policy makers to shore up the shared currency. On many days the markets would see that as just empty talk, but today, with the bank’s governing council set to meet tomorrow, that’s being seen as a sign that the bank will announce increased buying of sovereign debt—or at least an end to plans to end its buying program. No trader wants to be on the wrong side of that news.
For the first time in days the premium on Spanish and Irish government 10-year bonds over the benchmark German bonds fell—by 0.37 and 0.35 percentage points, respectively.
At 10 a.m. in New York the euro was up 0.9% to $1.3097.