There is good news this morning for bulls trying to explain why global markets have been up this year.
The three pillars on which stocks have advanced this year are all finding statistical support this morning. They are:
1) U.S. economy gradually improving. Stock futures moved up a few points as February nonfarm payrolls , at 227,000, were slightly above expectations, but an equally important story is the January revision — to 284,000 from 243,000.
2) Europe in recession , but European Central Bank will keep providing liquidity, no euro zone breakup. The Greek private-sector deal coming to a conclusion will likely remove a significant systemic threat to the euro zone (more on this below).
3) China: soft landing. Word that China had reduced its 2012 growth rate to 7.5 percent sent the market into a tizzy earlier this week, but there is evidence they are underestimating. Today, factory data showed output growth was slightly lower than expected in the first two months of the year, but was still up 11.4 percent. Retail sales also slightly weaker than expected, but still impressive at 14.7 percent for the first two months. This is not a hard landing. Most importantly, consumer inflation is at a 20-month low of 3.2 percent, which means Chinese authorities will have leeway to reduce cash reserves banks must hold, allowing more loan growth.Page 1 of 3 | Next Page