By Will Horner
Global stocks advanced Friday as signs of the Chinese economy stabilizing and robust earnings from some of the biggest U.S. banks fueled investors' optimism.
The S&P 500 rose 0.2% shortly after the opening bell, on track for another new high. The Nasdaq Composite added 0.2%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.1%.
The pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 gauge rose 1%, putting it on course to close at a fresh record.
Fresh data showed that China's industrial production rebounded last year, with the 6.9% growth in output in December beating forecasts and marking the fastest pace of expansion in nine months. Meanwhile, economic growth slowed to 6.1% last year, largely in line with market expectations. The Chinese yuan strengthened 0.3% against the dollar after the data, hitting its highest levels since July.
While it is too early to tell if the Chinese economic slowdown has bottomed out, the data added to investors' recent optimism about the prospects for the global economy following the partial resolution to the U.S.-China trade dispute, said Geoffrey Yu, head of the U.K. office for UBS Group's wealth management arm.
"It's a case of looking at it as a glass-half-full, rather than a glass-half-empty," Mr. Yu said. "There is a general sense that it could have been a lot worse."
State Street gained 3.1% as the trust bank's profit also beat Wall Street's expectations.
In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index ended the day largely flat. The fresh economic data has prompted speculation that China's central bank may hold off on additional stimulus measures, said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote Bank.
The British pound slipped 0.2% against the dollar after U.K. retail sales unexpectedly fell in December, further raising expectations that the Bank of England will cut interest rates when policy makers meet at the end of the month, said Peter Dixon, an economist at Commerzbank.
"It's another piece of the jigsaw," Mr. Dixon said of the retail sales data. "We already had a big miss on November GDP figures and it now looks like a stretch to assume the U.K. will register positive growth in the fourth quarter."
Later in the day, a number of Federal Reserve policy makers are also scheduled to give speeches.
Gunjan Banerji contributed to this article.
Write to Will Horner at William.Horner@wsj.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 17, 2020 10:01 ET (15:01 GMT)
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