U.S. stocks halt 5-day slide amid oil rally

Japanese shares slid more than 5% as Asian markets suffered

Feb 12, 2016 @ 11:18 am

By Bloomberg News

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U.S. stocks halted a five-day slide that dragged global equities into a bear market, as oil rebounded from a 12-year low and bank shares surged. Treasuries declined with the yen.

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index pared a weekly gain amid data showing higher retail sales. Lenders rallied as JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s Jamie Dimon said he bought more shares in the bank, while Commerzbank AG's results helped European equities rebound from the lowest level since 2013. The yield on 10-year Treasuries climbed after reaching the lowest since 2012. Crude approached $28 a barrel in New York.

Equity markets rebounded after a torrid week when investors questioned whether central banks have the tools to shore up the global economy. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the Fed was assessing the impact of the swings in the markets on the economy, while Japanese policy has failed to stem a rout in equities as the yen strengthens. The gains in U.S. retail sales were tempered by a report showing weakening consumer sentiment.

“I'd be weary of calling anything a lasting rebound until I see it,” said Ben Kumar, an investment manager at Seven Investment Management in London. His firm oversees about $13 billion. “It's crazy that the market is priced for recession and a complete failure of the financial system. But you wouldn't want to call it the end of the rout quite yet. Nobody wants to be the first bull now.”

STOCKS

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index climbed 0.7% at 10:17 a.m. in New York, trimming a weekly decline to 2%. U.S. markets are closed Monday for the Presidents Day holiday.

Retail sales increased 0.2%, matching the previous month's advance that was initially reported as a decline, as Americans kicked off 2016 by spending freely on cars, clothing and online merchandise. Sentiment declined in February to a four-month low as declining stock prices and weaker global conditions weighed on Americans' views of the economy.

“We have a decent number of retail sales and it will likely set the tone for the morning, but I'm not so sure how we end, particularly going into an extended holiday weekend,” Eric Wiegand, senior portfolio manager at the Private Client Reserve of US Bank in New York, said by phone. “If there is optimism on these releases, it will be guarded. No single data point is sufficient to offset the concerns that have been growing.”

American International Group Inc. rose after lifting its dividend and announcing a $5 billion share buyback. JPMorgan surged after Dimon, its chairman and chief executive officer, spent $26.6 million to buy shares of his bank Thursday.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 2.1%, paring its weekly drop to 4.9%. Miners led the advance, with Rio Tinto Group and Glencore Plc contributing the most as prices for base metals rose. Commerzbank surged after easing concerns that banks will fail to find a way to remain profitable in a low-rate environment. The region's lenders plunged the most since August 2011 on Thursday. Deutsche Bank AG jumped 10% after saying it planned to buy back debt.

In Asia, the Topix index slumped 5.4 % in Tokyo as traders returned from holiday, leaving it down lost 12.6% on the week, the biggest loss for the period since the global financial crisis.

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