Chinese Growth Boosts Industrial Stocks

Wall Street has been in a subdued mood on a day when tragedy has struck not far from the U.S. market hub. On the economic side of things, Chinese manufacturers were more confident than expected, signaling an expansion there, and the CPI's reading of a 0.3% decline shows that deflation may need to be a concern in the U.S. With 45 minutes left in trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is down 0.32%, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) has fallen 0.46% after a sudden drop.

Companies that will benefit from China's manufacturing are leading the market today. Alcoa (NYSE: AA  ) has risen 1.3%, and Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) is up 0.7% on the day. HSBC's manufacturing PMI reading for December rose to 50.9, higher than 50.5 in November and 49.5 in October. Any reading above 50 indicates a growing manufacturing sector. These companies should see more demand if manufacturing grows, which is why they're moving higher today.

American Express (NYSE: AXP  ) is the biggest loser today, falling 1.7%. The stock may be seeing some pressure from the low CPI numbers. If goods become less expensive, consumers could spend less, and fees could fall for the credit card company. But a forward P/E ratio of 12 doesn't have me concerned about a long-term slide for the stock.

Oil has risen 1% today, also driven by data from China. The country is one of the few places in the world where demand for oil is rising, so positive data is good for oil traders.

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