US stocks : Economic data bolsters shares, but Apple plunges, S&P crosses 1,500 after 2007
The FTSE Eurofirst 300 index of top European shares closed up 0.29 percent at 1,171.06 on signs of growth in Germany, which bolstered expectations that the region's sovereign debt crisis may be easing.
"Leading economic indicators rose, new jobless claims are at the lowest level in many years, and Chinese manufacturing data moved to a positive trajectory," said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey, with more than $1 trillion in assets under management. "The Chinese data bodes well for demand which translates into top line revenue growth. If global demand goes up, it's good for U.S. equities."
The benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell 5/32 in price to yield 1.8436 percent, as investors moved funds into stocks.
"It's a reach for return in the equities market," said Todd Colvin, senior vice president of global institutional sales with R.J. O'Brien & Associates in Chicago. "Risk takers are being rewarded so far this year."
January's flash euro zone purchasing managers index pointed to more weakness ahead for a region already mired in recession. But it also hinted at improvement later in the year.
"The pace of recession is clearly easing," said Marco Valli, chief euro zone economist at UniCredit.
The data showed the contrasting fortunes of Germany and France, with German activity at its strongest levels in a year and the French PMI at its lowest level since March 2009.
The growing confidence in the
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