Asian stocks rise as China export recovery buoys confidence; European shares open higher

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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HONG KONG - World stock markets rose Monday as news of a surprisingly strong rebound in China's exports last month offset a dismal U.S. jobs report.
Hong Kong and Shanghai markets led Asia after the Chinese government announced exports jumped nearly 18 per cent in December after 13 months of declines, buoying confidence in Asia's prospects as Western economies struggle.
Expectations of greater Chinese demand helped lift commodities. Oil prices neared $84 a barrel while gold topped $1,150 an ounce.
The dollar, meanwhile, weakened against the yen and the euro as investors bet the U.S. government would stick to its looser monetary policies after a bleak employment report showed Friday the world's largest economy shed 85,000 jobs last month, far more than the 8,000 analysts expected. The unemployment rate held at 10 per cent.
Early in Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.6 per cent, Germany's DAX gained 0.5 per cent and France's CAC-40 was up 1 per cent. Wall Street futures pointed to a higher open in the U.S. Monday. S&P futures were up 5.2 points, or 0.4 per cent, at 1,146.50.
In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng benchmark climbed 114.77 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 22,411.52 and Shanghai's main index added 16.75 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 3,212.75. Chinese markets were also supported by news regulators were moving ahead with plans for stock futures and other trading products that could make the market more attractive to investors.
Japan's stock market was closed for a holiday.
Elsewhere, India's index added 0.2 per cent, Singapore's market rose 0.3 per cent and Australia's index was up 0.8 per cent. South Korea's Kospi benchmark gave up early gains to close down 0.1 per cent at 1,694.12.
Friday on Wall Street, the Dow rose 11.33, or 0.1 per cent, to 10,618.19.
The Standard&Poor's 500 index rose 3.29, or 0.3 per cent, to 1,144.98, its fifth straight advance. The Dow and the S&P 500 index ended at their highest levels since Oct. 1, 2008.
The Nasdaq composite index rose 17.12, or 0.7 per cent, to 2,317.17.
Oil prices jumped in Asia amid signs of strong Chinese demand for crude and rebel attacks on Nigerian supplies. Benchmark crude for February delivery was up 81 cents to $83.56; the contract rose 9 cents Friday.
The dollar slid to 92.32 yen from 92.54 yen. The euro strengthened to $1.4510 from 1.4430.

Geographic location: China, U.S., HONG KONG Asia Shanghai Europe Britain Germany France

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