U.S. stocks fought off morning selling as news reports surfaced that there is growing support in the GOP to push out the debt ceiling a few months (mid April), which in the market's mind is another kick the can for any immediate potential crisis. The S&P 500 gained 0.3% while the NASDAQ was fractionally lower. Favorable earnings reports from General Electric (GE) and Morgan Stanley (MS), and decent GDP news out of China overnight also helped.
- House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Friday that the House of Representatives will vote next week to authorize a three-month increase in the debt ceiling in order to give Congress time to pass a budget.
- The University of Michigan-Thomson Reuters reported its initial read on consumer sentiment fell to 71.3 in January from 72.9 in December.
Crude oil gained 0.1% to $95.56, gold dropped 0.2% to $1687.00 and silver gained 0.4% to $31.93.
Britain gained 0.4%, while Germany fell 0.4% and France 0.1%.
Japan's market surged 2.9% (as the yen plunged again) while China jumped 1.4%.
- The yen softened following a Nikkei report that the Bank of Japan is preparing to announce additional monetary easing at its policy meeting early next week. An additional ¥10 trillion of additional easing will be announced, according to the report, which would mark the first time in more than nine years that the Bank of Japan has made expansionary moves over two successive policy meetings.
- China's gross domestic product growth figure for the fourth quarter showed a 7.9% on year rise compared with expectations for a 7.8% rise. This is the first rise in on year growth in the Chinese economy since the fourth quarter of 2010. The gross domestic product growth represented an increase from 7.4% growth in the third quarter and 7.6% growth in the second quarter.