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Stimulus Hopes Boost Dow Over 15,000; Earnings Season Leans on Brand Power; China Nervous about EU-U.S. Trade Talks

Dow Rises to over 15,000 on Global Stimulus Optimism (Bloomberg)
Stocks rose today, sending the Dow above 15,000 for the second time in a week, indicating general optimism over the global central bank stimulus. Steven Bulko, the New York- based chief investment officer of Lombard Odier Investment Management’s $1 billion long/short 1798 Fundamental Strategies Fund, explained why the market has recently been doing well for equities: “This is a QE-fueled market; You’re just not seeing sales based on allocation into any other asset class because of the relative unattractiveness of everything other than equities. That’s putting in place a firm bid to the equities market.”

Earnings Season Dependent on Consumer Brand Earnings (CNBC)
The strength of the economy hinges on the results from consumer brand earnings. Walt Disney, a notable brand, will announce its results after the closing bell Tuesday; Disney’s stock is up 26 percent so far this year. Evercore media analyst Alan Gould explains how Disney’s success helps investors: “Investors will likely be focusing on theme park margins and ESPN trends. We also expect further discussion of the impact of the new “Magic Bracelets” which we believe can meaningfully increase park attendance and per capita spending, and more details on the Lucas film acquisition which is now planning to add a Star Wars original or derivative film each year beginning in 2015,” Gould said in a research note.

China Worries about EU-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (Reuters)
China is raising concerns about the European Union’s plans to negotiate a free trade deal with the United States, fearing this would lead to protectionism. An EU official spoke more on China’s concern, indicating that the move would be “a pulling of the wagons into a circle to … insulate the transatlantic economy from the rest of the world or is it, as we (the EU) argue, even greater opening of both economies?” The EU has argued that the deal would profit other countries due in part to trade expansion and investment across the Atlantic.

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