World stocks gain amid positive China, Japan data

AP News
Posted: Nov 11, 2009 3:53 AM

Asian stock markets were mostly higher Wednesday after figures from China and Japan showed the region's two biggest economies were on track to recovering from the global downturn. European shares also traded higher.

But Asia's advance, its fourth in a row, appeared to slow as investors tread cautiously following recent gains and a lackluster session on Wall Street. The dollar was weaker against the euro and flat against the yen.

The Chinese government said the slump in the country's exports eased last month as industrial output and retail sales rose sharply, with inflation still tame. Together, the figures showed China's economy, with the help of massive stimulus spending, would meet or surpass this year's economic growth target of 8 percent.

"Data showed the economy has real good growth prospects," said Ellie Chan, senior analyst at Tanrich Securities in Hong Kong.

Adding to positive signs in Asia, Japan's core machinery orders, a closely watched indicator of corporate capital spending, jumped 10.5 percent in September, marking the second straight month of gains.

As trading got under way in Europe, benchmarks in Britain, Germany and France rose nearly 1 percent. Wall Street was poised for a higher open, with Dow futures up 0.4 percent and S&P futures gaining 0.5 percent.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei stock average was higher in the morning before closing virtually unchanged at 9,871.68. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.6 percent to 22,627.21.

Elsewhere, South Korea's market added 0.8 percent, with markets in Australia, Taiwan and Singapore also gaining.

China's Shanghai index fell after eight days of gains, falling 0.1 percent to 3,175.19. Analysts said the market was lackluster as the data came as no surprise.

"There's no question on the economy, so the figures were dull to investors," said Wen Lijun, an analyst for Nanjing Securities.

In the U.S, the Dow wavered but continued to rise to a new annual high, adding 20.03, or 0.2 percent, to 10,246.97, its highest close since Oct. 3, 2008.

The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.07, or less than 0.1 percent, to 1,093.01, after six days of gains.

Oil prices fell below $79 in Asia as investors mulled rising U.S. oil inventories and a weaker dollar. Benchmark crude for December delivery down 14 cents to $78.91 a barrel. The contract fell 38 cents to settle at $79.05 on Tuesday.

Gold added $11.3, or 1 percent, to $1,113.8 an ounce.

The dollar was unchanged at 89.81 yen. The euro rose to $1.5030 from $1.4095.