World stocks rise as US economy improves

AP News
Posted: Dec 09, 2013 10:08 AM
World stocks rise as US economy improves

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Global stock markets were mostly higher Monday as signs of U.S. economic recovery offset concerns that the Federal Reserve may reduce its monetary stimulus this month.

In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 was flat at 6,550.37 while Germany's DAX gained 0.3 percent to 9,197.60. The CAC-40 in France was steady at 4,127.90.

Wall Street opened higher, with the Dow up 0.2 percent at 16,051.86 and the S&P 500 0.3 percent higher at 1,811.10.

The U.S. on Friday reported a fourth straight month of job gains, with 203,000 new jobs created in November. The unemployment rate fell to 7.0 percent from 7.3 percent. The strengthening job market focused investors on the improving economy instead of concerns about a possible reduction in the Fed's stimulus at its Dec. 17-18 policy meeting.

A run of strong economic data last week had already bolstered belief among investors that the Fed would back a so-called tapering of its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases as early as this month. Earlier this year, fears of the stimulus withdrawal had caused jitters in the markets as the monetary injection has helped to shore up stocks for several years.

"The jobs data followed on from several other firm U.S. data releases over the week, highlighting strengthening signs of recovery. Equities reacted well, rising as fears over tapering were outweighed by concrete signs of recovery," Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong said in a market commentary.

Improvement in the U.S. economy, which is the world's largest, could be a boon for export-reliant Asian nations.

Leaving the Left
John Stossel

Japan's Nikkei 225 surged 2.3 percent to 15,650.21 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.3 percent at 23,811.17. Benchmarks in mainland China, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia also rose.

India's Sensex jumped 1.7 percent to a record high after sweeping victories for India's pro-business opposition party in state elections suggested it will win national polls in May.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 bucked the trend and dropped 0.8 percent to 5,144.40.

Benchmark crude for January delivery was down 28 cents at $97.39 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 27 cents to close at $97.65 on Friday.

In currencies, the euro rose 0.1 percent to $1.3724 while the dollar rose 0.1 percent to 103.11 yen.