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While you were sleeping Positive profit sentiment

Tuesday 16th July 2013

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As US corporate earnings season accelerates this week, Citigroup has posted a 42 percent surge in quarterly profit, setting the stage for stocks to extend their year-to-date rally even amid mixed economic data.

Shares of Citigroup gained, last up 2.1 percent, after the company reported quarterly earnings that exceeded expectations as revenue on stock trading jumped.

In late afternoon trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.26 percent, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 0.23 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.22 percent. Both the Dow and S&P 500 are on track to close at record highs.

"I don't see anything changing without some big macroeconomic shift to the downside. Absent that, you have a fair amount of portfolio managers trailing the indices and I think it's going to continue to be a performance chase," Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, told Reuters.

Bank of America-Merrill Lynch has raised its year-end target for the S&P 500 to 1,750 from 1,600, citing expected earnings growth.

Among the big names on deck to release results tomorrow are Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola and Yahoo!.

Containing enthusiasm on Wall Street today, however, were somewhat disappointing June retail sales, which rose 0.4 percent, failing to meet economists' expectations of a 0.8 percent gain. After adjusting for autos and auto parts, sales were flat in June from May.

In Europe, the benchmark Stoxx 600 Index ended the day with a 0.4 percent advance from the previous close. Germany's DAX rose 0.3 percent, while the UK's FTSE 100 index and France's CAC 40 each gained 0.6 percent.

French bonds held their ground on Monday after Fitch downgraded the nation's credit rating late on Friday. Fitch was catching up with previous decisions by both S&P and Moody's.

French 10-year bond yields were 2 basis points higher on the day at 2.20 percent, some 35 basis points below 2013 highs, according to Reuters data.

Signs of a political solution in Portugal helped yields on that country's debt pare back some of their recent surge. The Portuguese 10-year yield dropped 21 basis points, or 0.21 percentage point, to 7.30 percent, after jumping by 78 basis points in the three days through July 12, Bloomberg reported.

"There's some stabilisation," Owen Callan, an analyst at Danske Bank in Dublin, told Bloomberg. "After a good bit of weakness in Spain, Italy and Portugal last week we're seeing a bit of a recovery.

BusinessDesk.co.nz

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