World stock markets rise after China’s exports surge

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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BANGKOK, Thailand — World stock markets rose Friday, buoyed by optimism that the global economy could weather Europe’s debt crisis after China’s exports surged and U.S. jobless claims fell.

Even a dramatic warning from Japan’s new prime minister that his country could face a financial mess like the one that has crippled Greece failed to dent the buying mood.

Oil, meanwhile, fell modestly after a big jump the day before on signs of stronger U.S. fuel demand. The dollar gained against the yen and was little changed against the euro.

Sentiment was upbeat in as investors continued to take heart from a 48.5 per cent jump in China’s exports in May. The figure relieved investors, who have fretted Europe’s fiscal crisis could hamper a global economic recovery.

The U.S. Labor Department, meanwhile, said jobless claims fell to 456,000 last week. Total claims fell by the largest amount in nearly a year.

“China’s export growth reassured investors that a recovery in the global economy remains on track,” said Yutaka Shiraki, senior strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. Ltd. in Tokyo.

As trading got underway in Europe, benchmarks in Britain and France were modestly higher while Germany’s DAX fell slightly. Futures pointed to tepid gains Friday on Wall Street with Dow futures up 6 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 10,152.

In Asia, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average was unfazed by Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s blunt warning about the country’s finances, gaining 162.60 points, or 1.7 per cent, to 9,705.25.

Japan is on firmer financial footing than Greece because most of its debt is held domestically and Kan’s statements appeared designed to push forward his agenda, which may involve raising taxes.

“Greece had a huge public debt and huge overseas loans,” said Hiromichi Shirakawa, chief economist at Credit Suisse Japan. “Japan has a trade surplus, and it’s a major creditor nation ... I don’t think Japan’s fiscal conditions is facing a similar crisis.”

Elsewhere, South Korea’s Kospi added 1.4 per cent to 1,675.34 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.6 per cent at 4,505.50. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 1.2 per cent to 19,872.38. Benchmarks in mainland China, Singapore and Taiwan also advanced.

In New York Thursday, the Dow Jones industrial average surged 273.28 points, or 2.8 per cent, to 10,172.53. It was the Dow’s first close above 10,000 this week.

Investors also cheered the European Central Bank’s decision Thursday to keep its key interest rate unchanged at 1 per cent in a bid to shore up the region’s economy.

In currencies, the dollar rose to 91.60 yen from 91.40 yen in New York late Thursday. The euro edged down to $1.2103 from $1.2106.

Benchmark crude for July delivery was down 54 cents at $74.94 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.10 to settle at $75.48 on Thursday.

Organizations: U.S. Labor Department, Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co., Credit Suisse Japan Dow Jones industrial average European Central Bank New York Mercantile Exchange

Geographic location: China, Japan, Europe Greece U.S. BANGKOK Thailand Tokyo Britain France Germany New York Asia Naoto Kan South Korea Australia Hong Kong Singapore Taiwan

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