Daily Stocks Update: Wall Street Cheers Upbeat Consumer Data – Feb 15, 2016

Daily FX Trading Update: Yellen's Speech Coming Up - Feb 10, 2016

Economic data from the US came in mostly stronger than expected on Friday, allowing a bit of risk appetite to return on Wall Street ahead of the President’s Day long weekend. Headline retail sales rose 0.2% in January, beating expectations of a 0.1% uptick, while core retail sales advanced 0.1% instead of staying flat. Previous data also enjoyed small upgrades.

The Dow 30 index rose 313.66 points to 15,973.84 (+2.00%), the S&P 500 index closed 35.70 points up to 1,864.78 (+1.95%), and the Nasdaq was up 70.7 points to 4,337.5 (+1.66%). Dow 30 index futures are up 148.0 points (+0.93%), S&P 500 index futures are up 17.50 points (+0.94%), and Nasdaq index futures are up 48.62 points (+1.24%).

The S&P 500 VIX, which is considered a gauge of market sentiment, fell 2.74 points to 25.40 (-9.74%) and indicated a pickup in risk appetite.

European markets also in the green

Even though data from Europe came in mixed, European equities were able to lock in strong gains, spurred partly by profit-taking before the return of Chinese investors this week. The German DAX ended 214.64 points up to 8,967.51 (+2.45%) and the French CAC 40 was up 98.35 points to 3,995.06 (+2.52%).

Futures are also looking positive, likely setting up for a strong open in the European markets later today. German DAX futures for March delivery are up 87 points to 9,075.9 (+0.98%) and French CAC 40 futures are up 56.6 points to 4,049.8 (+1.43%).

Euro zone trade balance is up for release today and a smaller surplus of 22.4 billion EUR is eyed. Earlier today, the UK Rightmove HPI showed a stellar 2.9% gain in house prices, allowing FTSE index futures to advance 51.1 points to 5,733.5 (+0.90%).

Positive outlook after Spring Festival

There is generally more positivity in the markets following the Chinese New Year festivities, as the long weekend likely supported spending and tourism activity all over the globe. Traders are also expected to react to last week’s developments and these have been mostly positive.

Talks of an OPEC meeting to once again discuss the possibility of a compromise on oil production levels are currently lifting commodity prices. Venezuela has proposed a freeze on new production but other oil-producing nations have specified that they’re only willing to trim production only if other non-OPEC members agree to do so.