Stocks rise on JPMorgan results, euro rallies
NEW YORK (Reuters) - World stocks edged up on Friday, with JP Morgan's strong earnings pushing Wall Street higher, but China's latest move to tighten credit drove gold to a one-week low, although oil prices rose.
A rise in Brent crude to above $99 a barrel helped lift U.S. oil prices despite the increase in reserve requirements at Chinese banks.
Wall Street rallied, with the benchmark S&P 500 Index posting its seventh straight week of gains after JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) reported a larger-than-expected 47 percent increase in quarterly earnings.
Although sales at U.S. retailers rose slightly less than expected in December, underlying inflation remained tame and investors were cheered by other data that suggested the recovery was modestly gathering strength.
Retail sales for 2010 reversed two years of contraction with the biggest increase in more than a decade, while the Federal Reserve reported a surprisingly large 0.8 percent gain in output at U.S. factories, mines and utilities in December, helped by cold weather.
The S&P Midcap 400 index .MID, which includes companies with market caps ranging from $750 million to $3.3 billion, surged to end the session at 931.07, an all-time closing high.
"On balance, with supporting prices and in spite of mixed economic data, there is expectation of a strong earnings season," said Jim Awad, managing director at Zephyr Management in New York.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 55.48 points, or 0.47 percent, to close at 11,787.38. The Standard & Poor's 500 .SPX gained 9.48 points, or 0.74 percent, to finish at 1,293.24. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC climbed 20.01 points, or 0.73 percent, to end at 2,755.30.
For the week, the Dow rose 1 percent, the S&P 500 added 1.7 percent and the Nasdaq rose 1.9 percent.
U.S. financial markets will be closed on Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The fresh tightening in Chinese monetary policy pushed European shares lower, although more positive U.S. economic and earnings data helped pare losses by the close.
Brent crude oil rose to a 27-month peak above $99 a barrel, as traders shrugged off China's move to restrict lending.
In London, ICE Brent crude for February delivery settled up 62 cents, or 0.63 percent, at $98.68 a barrel, having traded as high as $99.20, the highest since October 2008. The February contract expired at the end of Friday's trading.
U.S. crude oil for February delivery added 14 cents, or 0.15 percent, to settle at $91.54 a barrel.
But gold dropped 1 percent to post its biggest two-week loss in nearly a year after China's move to rein in inflation and as safe-haven demand faded on a better economic outlook.
U.S. gold futures for February delivery lost $26.50 to settle at $1,360.50 an ounce. Spot gold fell as low intraday as $1,354.99 an ounce, a one-week low.
U.S. Treasuries slipped as the rise in equity markets boosted risk tolerance and dampened the appeal of safe-haven U.S. government debt.
Retail sales were "fairly strong" and thus mildly negative for safe-haven assets like Treasuries, said Ray Humphries, portfolio manager of The Hartford Inflation Plus Fund (HIPAX.O) at Hartford Investment Management Co., which has $161.7 billion in assets under management.
The euro headed for its best week in more than 1-1/2 years and could extend gains next week after successful securities auctions by indebted euro-zone members calmed fears of a credit crisis in the region.
The euro was last at $1.3376, up 3.8 percent this week and edging closer to key resistance at $1.35. Analysts said the recovery could continue in the near term, although gains above $1.35 may be difficult, given nervousness over the large debt supply from weaker euro-zone economies in 2011.
"We're at a bit of a pivot point, but the same momentum continues," said Fabian Eliasson, vice president of currency sales at Mizuho Corporate Bank in New York.
The dollar slipped against a basket of major currencies, with the U.S. Dollar Index .DXY down 0.16 percent at 79.064.
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