U.S. stocks followed European equities higher as optimism over a cease-fire agreement for Ukraine offset an unexpectedly steep drop in American retail sales. Treasuries advanced, Greek markets climbed and oil rose.
The Standard & Poorâ€™s 500 Index gained 0.3 percent at 9:30 a.m. in New York, climbing within 1 percent of an all-time high. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.7 percent, as Greeceâ€™s ASE Index gained 4.3 percent and the yield on three-year notes fell 232 basis points to 18.43 percent. The yen appreciated 0.8 percent against the dollar after reports Bank of Japan policy makers deem further stimulus counterproductive. Oil advanced for the first time in three days.
Sales at U.S. retailers fell more than forecast in January, while applications for unemployment benefits climbed last week. The accord for eastern Ukraine is to start Feb. 15, Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters in Minsk, Belarus, after talks with French, German and Ukrainian leaders. At a separate meeting in Brussels, last-minute questions from the Greek government snagged progress toward an agreement with creditors, and talks will resume Feb. 16.