The stock market is bouncing from their midday lows. The overall tone is bullish thanks to better than expected retail sales figures and improving consumer sentiment. Positive economic data out of China also helped buoy some commodity stocks. At the same time a rise in the U.S. dollar is pushing the actual commodities lower with both oil and gold in the red today.

Asian markets were mostly higher. China released some economic data that showed the country's rebound continues. Imports rose breaking a 12-month trend of declines. China's industrial output jumped to its highest levels in more than two years. Traders seemed to sell the news with the Chinese Shanghai index sliding 0.2%. Meanwhile the Hong Kong Hang Seng rose 0.9% snapping a five-day losing streak. The Japanese NIKKEI rallied 2.4% to end a three-day losing streak. Across the globe European markets were up across the board as stocks extended the bounce to two days in a row. Miners led the rally thanks to China's rising industrial production. The English FTSE rose 0.3%. The German DAX gained 0.8%. The French CAC-40 rallied 1.2%.

Here at home in the U.S. one of the big stories was an improvement in consumer sentiment. The Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers sentiment index saw its preliminary December figures rise to 73.4. Economists were expecting a rise to 68.5 from November's 67.4. This bodes well for consumers and dovetailed nicely with the better than expected retail sales figures. The Commerce Department said November retail sales shot higher with a 1.3% gain. This was the biggest jump since August and blew past estimates for a gain of 0.7%. Together rising sentiment and sales should bode well for the retailers this holiday shopping season. The RLX retail index is up 1.1% on the session.

The U.S. dollar is bouncing and hitting new relative highs on worries that the Federal Reserve might have to raise rates sooner than expected. This has pushed gold futures down another $9.00 to $1,117 an ounce. It was just over a week ago that gold was hitting all-time highs near $1,218 an ounce. Meanwhile crude oil is down about 0.9% and cracking the $70.00 a barrel mark. Oil has fallen eight days in a row, a feat not seen in over six years.

Currently the S&P 500 index is up less than five points at 1106. The NASDAQ composite is under performing with a fractional loss near 2190. The Dow Industrials are up just over 60 points near 10,469. The small cap Russell 2000 index is up almost five points and trading near the 600 mark.

Chart of the S&P 500:

Chart of the NASDAQ:

Chart of the Dow Industrials:

Chart of the Russell 2000 index:

Scanning the OptionInvestor.com play list for movement we unfortunately don't see a lot of movement today. FFIV is under performing with a 4.3% decline thanks to a downgrade this morning. FFIV is testing round-number support near $50.00. PCP is showing relative strength with a 2% gain. GMCR is bouncing and has hit our stop loss closing our put play.