Robust earnings keep stocks buoyant

Earnings growth and M&A activity has helped divert attention from today’s feeble retail sales.

Judging by the performance of the stock market, investors seem both relaxed with the continued Fed tapering and content to notch recent soft macroeconomic data up to the weather.

Stocks extended their gains in afternoon trading in New York, taking the S&P 500 up 0.53% to 1830.0 with just a few minutes to the closing bell on Wall Street. The Dow advanced 0.37%, looking set to close above 16,000.

Sentiment has remained buoyant thanks to earnings continuing to surprise for the most part to the upside, with Goodyear and CBS both posting better-than-expected results today. Time Warner Cable leaped 7% on news that it is to be acquired by Comcast, a deal that will see the top two US cable providers merging and could shore up the battle against internet TV services and rival cable services from phone companies.

We have a number of interesting macro reports tomorrow: the Federal Reserve’s industrial production index for December is expected to show a pick-up in overall production and the key manufacturing component. We also have import and export prices and the first reading in February for the University of Michigan’s widely-followed index of consumer sentiment.

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