Global stocks are up as economic data improves worldwide.
1) many European bourses are near 2-1/2 month highs, given a boost by strong economic figures. Germany's investor confidence (Zew Index) came in better than expected, and euro zone industrial production was up 0.7 percent, its fastest pace in nearly three years.
2) in the U.S., July retail sales were up 0.2 percent, a tad below expectations of a gain of 0.3 percent, but June was revised upward and "core" sales (ex-auto) were up 0.5 percent, the biggest gain since December.
This data supports the idea that a taper of bond purchases by the Federal Reserve in September is more likely than not. Those who believe that the Fed will wait until December to taper — which were a majority only a couple months ago— are now a minority. That may be why stocks sold off a bit on the news: this is the last gasp of those who are giving up on a delayed taper. Ten-year U.S. Treasury yields, which are a barometer of Fed expectations, moved up a touch to 2.69 percent.
Another positive data point: The Wall Street Journal reported late last night that U.S. government revenue from October to July this year was up over 14 percent from the same period a year ago. That is a big help for the deficit, which will likely be the narrowest in five years.