Global stocks turn higher on strong economic indicators

AP News
Posted: Feb 21, 2017 8:12 AM
Global stocks turn higher on strong economic indicators

BEIJING (AP) — Global stock markets mostly turned higher on Tuesday after surveys pointed to robust economic growth in Europe and Japan, regions that have stagnated in recent years.

KEEPING SCORE: Germany's DAX advanced 0.6 percent to 11,895 while France's CAC 40 rose 0.3 percent to 4,880. London's FTSE 100 retreated 0.2 percent to 7,288. On Wall Street, the future for the Dow was up 0.3 percent while that for the S&P 500 advanced 0.2 percent, suggesting gains after the markets were closed Monday for Presidents' Day. Both had hit record highs on Friday.

BETTER GROWTH: A survey indicated that the economy of the 19-country eurozone is growing at its fastest pace in nearly six years. The gauge of the manufacturing and services sectors for February showed both stronger business activity as well as better hiring. In Japan, a measure of manufacturing activity rose to its highest level since 2014. Both surveys showed inflation pressures growing, a welcome development for markets that have suffered dangerously low inflation or even falling prices in recent years.

FED WATCH: The Federal Reserve is due to release minutes of its January policy meeting on Wednesday, which might provide new insight in the U.S. central bank's views on interest rates. Last week, Fed chief Janet Yellen indicated it is likely to speed up the pace of interest rate rises if the job market remains healthy and inflation stays on track.

CHINA TRADE: China's commerce minister appealed to Washington to negotiate disputes with Beijing and avoid a "trade war" that he warned would hurt both sides. Gao Hucheng, responding to a question about U.S. President Donald Trump's promise to raise taxes on Chinese imports, said at a news conference Tuesday the two governments should work together to promote trade. Trump promised during his election campaign to raise import duties on Chinese goods to 40 percent but has yet to take formal action.

ASIA'S DAY: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 advanced 0.7 percent to 19,381.44 and the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.4 percent to 3,253.33. Hong Kong's Hang Seng retreated 0.8 percent to 23,963.63 while Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 lost 0.1 percent to 5,791.00. Seoul's Kospi gained 0.9 percent to 2,102.93. Benchmarks in New Zealand, Malaysia and the Philippines also rose. India's Sensex lost 0.1 percent to 28,645.52 while Singapore, Bangkok and Jakarta also declined.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 93 cents to $54.33 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract advanced 3 cents on Monday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 87 cents to $57.05 in London, having gained 23 cents the day before.

CURRENCY: The dollar rose to 113.67 yen from Monday's 113.37 yen. The euro declined to $1.0535 from $1.0609.