U.S. Stocks Post Best Day Since January; Yen Soars; Consumers Open Wallets

Stocks Rise on Better-Than-Expected Data (Bloomberg)

Stocks gained today, giving the S&P 500 its biggest gain since early January, due to better-than-predicted economic data and acquisitions in the media and grocery industries. ???It???s undeniable that the series of data are getting better,??? Chris Bertelsen, chief investment officer at Global Financial Private Capital, said. ???The only issue for the market is we???re in a vacuum month. In other words, there are no earnings, there is nothing to latch onto other than an occasional number here and there and people are worried about the Fed tapering.???

Yen Highest Since Early April (Reuters)

The yen soared against the dollar today to its highest level since the Bank of Japan unleashed an aggressive stimulus plan in April. Further, the Bank of Japan announced on April 4 that it would purchase $1.4 trillion in bonds, boosting demand for Japanese equities and increasing the yen???s value. “This week’s BOJ meeting, which offered no new policy initiatives or stimulus programs was the catalyst for the rapid change in sentiment in the foreign exchange market,” said Boris Schlossberg, managing director of foreign exchange strategy at BK Asset Management in New York.

Consumers Spent More than Expected in May (CNBC)

Retail sales surged in May as households began to step up purchases in automobiles and other purchased goods. Specifically, the Commerce Department said today that retail sales increased 0.6 percent after edging up 0.1 percent in April. And this increase in consumer spending, along with recent job gains and a jump in consumer confidence, hints at an underlying strength in the economy, despite belt-tightening in Washington.