* S&P 500 climbs to new five-year high
* China data spurs global growth optimism
* Tiffany shares slide after earnings estimates, sales
* Indexes up: Dow 0.6 pct, S&P 0.8 pct, Nasdaq 0.5
By Leah Schnurr
NEW YORK, Jan 10 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Thursday
and the S&P 500 ended at a fresh five-year high as
stronger-than-expected exports from China spurred optimism about
global growth prospects.
Buying accelerated late in the day after the S&P 500 broke
through technical resistance at 1,466.47, which was the market's
closing level last Friday and the highest level since December
"Historically, January is a positive month for the market
and you're seeing that play out," said Michael Sheldon, chief
market strategist at RDM Financial in Westport, Connecticut.
Financial and energy stocks were the day's top gainers. The
financial sector index rose 1.4 percent and the energy
sector was up 1 percent.
Analysts cited economic data out of China as the day's
catalyst, which showed the country's export growth rebounded
sharply to a seven-month high in December, a strong finish to
the year after seven straight quarters of slowdown.
"It is being interpreted positively that they've stopped the
downturn (in growth)," said Kurt Brunner, portfolio manager at
Swarthmore Group in Philadelphia.
"If they continue to produce good growth, that's going to be
supportive of our global manufacturers."
Wall Street's fear gauge, the CBOE Volatility Index
suggested markets were relatively calm. The VIX was down 2.3
percent at 13.49.
At Thursday's close, the S&P sits about 6 percent below its
all-time closing high of 1,565.15, hit in October 2007.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 80.71 points,
or 0.60 percent, to 13,471.22. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
rose 11.10 points, or 0.76 percent, to 1,472.12. The
Nasdaq Composite Index added 15.95 points, or 0.51
percent, to 3,121.76.
Thursday's session had earlier included a dip that traders
said was triggered by a trade in the options market that
prompted a large amount of S&P futures to hit the market at the
same time. That sent the S&P 500 index down rapidly but those
losses were reversed through the afternoon.
Financials benefited from events this week that added
clarity to mortgage rules and banks' potential exposure to the
The U.S. government's consumer finance watchdog announced
mortgage rules on Thursday that will force banks to use new
criteria to determine whether a borrower can repay a home loan.
Earlier this week, several big mortgage lenders reached a
deal with regulators to end a review of foreclosures mandated by
"It's a resolution. It's not hanging over their heads," said
Bank of America gained 3.1 percent to $11.78, while
Morgan Stanley was up 3.7 percent at $20.34, one day
after sources said the bank plans to cut jobs.
Shares of upscale jeweler Tiffany dropped 4.5
percent to $60.40 after it said sales were flat during the
Herbalife Ltd stepped up its defense against
activist investor Bill Ackman, stressing it was a legitimate
company with a mission to improve nutrition and help public
health. The stock ended down 1.8 percent at $39.24 after a
After the closing bell, American Express said it
would cut about 5,400 jobs, and take about $600 million in
after-tax charges in the fourth quarter. The stock added 0.7
percent to $61.20 in after-hours trade.
Volume was above the 2012 average of 6.42 billion shares
traded a day, with roughly 6.77 billion shares changing hands on
the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and the NYSE MKT.
Advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,916 to
1,039, while advancers also outpaced decliners on the Nasdaq by
1,439 to 1,036.