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World stocks rise amid positive signs of US job growth

Japan's Nikkei 225 index, reopening after a three-day holiday weekend, added 0.4 per cent to close at 8,422.26. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.7 per cent to 19,004.2.

twitter-logoAssociated Press | January 10, 2012 | Updated 16:39 IST

World stocks rose on Tuesday, assisted by an absence of bad financial news and signs that the US economy may be strengthening. Benchmark oil hit $102 per barrel while the dollar fell against the euro and the yen.

Stock markets were higher in early European trading, tracking gains in Asia. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.9 per cent to 5,662.63. Germany's DAX jumped 1.4 per cent to 6,100.30 and France's CAC-40 rose 1.6 per cent at 3,177.48.

Ahead of the opening bell, Wall Street appeared set for a higher opening. Dow Jones industrial futures rose 0.5 per cent to 12,402 and S&P 500 futures gained 0.6 per cent to 1,283.10.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index, reopening after a three-day holiday weekend, added 0.4 per cent to close at 8,422.26. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.7 per cent to 19,004.28 while South Korea's Kospi jumped 1.5 per cent to 1,853.22. Australia's S&P ASX 200 rose 1.1 per cent at 4,152.20. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan, and Indonesia also posted gains.

Improving economic data out of the US was one key factor working in favor of markets, said Cameron Peacock of IG Markets in Melbourne. The US added 2,00,000 jobs in December in a burst of hiring that drove the unemployment rate down two notches to 8.5 per cent, its lowest in almost three years. That led economists to conclude that the improvement in the job market might just last.

"With all the problems of the last few years, and the emergence of China as a legitimate economic superpower, it should not be forgotten that the US is still the world's largest and most influential economy," Peacock said in a report.

Energy-related shares rose as oil prices firmed up. South Korean refinery S-Oil Corp. gained 2.3 per cent, while Japanese energy explorer Inpex Corp. gained 2.7 per cent. Hong Kong-listed China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. added 1.4 per cent.

Heavy machinery shares also rose. South Korean power equipment maker Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction gained 4.1 per cent and Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. rose 4 per cent. Japan's Hitachi Construction Machinery Co. rose 1.9 per cent.

Japanese exporters, meanwhile, continued to feel the pinch of a strong yen, which lowers the value of expatriated profits and makes Japanese products more expensive overseas.

Mazda Motor Corp fell 2.2 per cent, Canon Inc dropped 1.5 per cent and Nikon Corp slid 1 per cent.

Stocks advanced in mainland China, as investors continued to cheer Premier Wen Jiabao's promise last weekend to channel lending to entrepreneurs who have been battered by weak global demand. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 2.7 per cent to 2,285.74, the highest closing in almost one month. The smaller Shenzhen Composite Index gained 3.9 per cent to 880.86.

Benchmark crude for February delivery rose $1.14 to $102.45 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 25 cents to settle at $101.31 in New York on Monday.

In currency trading, the euro rose to $1.2769 from $1.2762 late Monday in New York. The dollar fell to 76.85 yen from 76.89 yen.

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