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updated: 8/7/2012 7:11 AM

World stocks gain on hints of economic recovery

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  • An investor, center, speaks to another while they look at the stock price monitor at a private securities company in Shanghai, China.

    An investor, center, speaks to another while they look at the stock price monitor at a private securities company in Shanghai, China.
    Associated Press

Associated Press

BANGKOK -- World stock markets were moderately higher Tuesday, continuing to get a boost from an unexpected improvement in U.S. hiring that added to signs the global economy might be emerging from its downturn.

Sentiment was also underpinned by expectations that the European Central Bank will support struggling countries such as Spain and Italy by buying their sovereign bonds.

European stocks opened higher. Britain's FTSE edged up 0.3 percent to 5,825.06. Germany's DAX added 0.7 percent to 6,963.65 and France's CAC-40 rose 0.9 percent to 3,430.70. Wall Street appeared headed for another day of gains, with Dow Jones industrial futures rising 0.3 percent to 13,104. S&P 500 futures rose 0.4 percent to 1,395.20.

Markets in Asia rose on the heels of a stronger-than-expected jobs report released Friday. The U.S. economy generated 163,000 jobs last month, the fastest pace since February and far more than economists were expecting. The upturn was seen as a sign that the U.S. may be resilient enough to pull out of a midyear slump and grow modestly.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.9 percent to close at 8,803.31. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.4 percent to 20,072.55. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.4 percent to 4,291.60. South Korea's Kospi rose 0.1 percent to 1,886.80. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan, and New Zealand were higher.

Mainland Chinese shares also rose. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.1 percent to 2,157.62. The smaller Shenzhen Composite Index gained 0.8 percent to 898.48.

"The surprising improvement in U.S. hiring contributed to the gains while it is also a technical correction after the loss in last 10 weeks or so," said Guo Yanhong, an analyst at Huachuang Securities, based in Shanghai.

Hopes that China's central bank was preparing to announce steps to spur growth in the world's No. 2 economy also helped boost confidence in stocks, analysts said. A weekend statement by the People's Bank of China was interpreted as a sign that more monetary easing was in store.

"Sentiment is turning more positive right now. Market turnover is increasing gradually. Money is coming back to the market, said Linus Yip, strategist at First Shanghai Securities in Hong Kong.

For instance, last week's daily average turnover in Hong Kong was 46.3 billion Hong Kong dollars ($5.97 billion), while Monday's figure stood at HK$47 billion. July's daily average was $HK43.3 billion. "You can see volume is gradually increasing, which means sentiment is turning more positive," Yip said.

Among individual stocks, Japanese steel company JFE Holdings shot up 4.9 percent. Yamaha Motor Co. jumped 8.4 percent. Kansai Electric Power Co. surged 10.4 percent.

Shares of Standard Chartered fell 14.9 percent after New York's financial regulator accused the British bank of scheming with the Iranian government to launder $250 billion, an accusation the bank rejected.

Australian mining equipment maker Bradken Ltd. soared 11.2 percent after announcing a 49 percent rise in profits due to its exposure to booming resource sectors.

Benchmark crude for September delivery was up 11 cents to $92.32 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 80 cents to finish at $92.20 per barrel in New York.

In currency trading, the euro rose to $1.2414 from $1.2399 late Monday in New York. The dollar rose to 78.34 yen from 78.22 yen.

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