World stocks rise on hopes of more upbeat US data

World stocks rise as investors expect further upbeat US economic data

Associated Press

HONG KONG (AP) -- World stocks were mostly higher as investors awaited key U.S. data later Friday that they hoped would add further evidence of a strengthening recovery in the world's biggest economy.

Investors' hopes were already raised after a report by the Institute for Supply Management that found U.S. manufacturing activity jumped last month, signaling a rebound in industrial production.

"Holy smokes," economists at Singapore's DBS Bank wrote in a research note. They noted that the report comes after other recent upbeat U.S. data, including second-quarter growth that was better than expected and a surge in durable goods orders.

"Payrolls and the unemployment rate are on tap today. If these green shoots — or rocket ships in the case of the ISM — spill over to the labor market, there's going to be a party at the Fed. And on Pennsylvania Avenue. Wall Street."

In early European trading, Germany's DAX was up 0.1 percent to 8,415.49 while France's CAC 40 rose 0.1 percent to 4,043.37. The FTSE 100 index of leading British companies rose marginally to 6,683.40.

U.S. stocks were poised to rise. Dow futures gained 0.1 percent to 15,568.00 while broader S&P 500 futures advanced 0.1 percent to 1,701.90.

In Asia, markets ended higher. Japan's Nikkei 225 index surged 3.3 percent to 14,466.16, with export shares boosted by a weakening yen. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.5 percent to 22,190.97 while in mainland China, the Shanghai Composite Index rose less than 0.1 percent to 2,029.42.

South Korea's Kospi was up 0.1 percent to 1,923.38 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 climbed 1.1 percent to 5,116.80. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan and New Zealand also rose. Benchmarks in the Philippines and Thailand fell.

Investors were also keeping a close eye on corporate results posted so far during earnings season to get a better idea of how, for example, the economic slowdown is playing out in China, the world's No. 2 economy. The latest sign of China's uncertain economic outlook came on Thursday, when an official Chinese survey of manufacturing activity ticked up unexpectedly though remained weak.

"Essentially, reporting season will be the test of whether or not that negative macro sentiment has really impacted companies on the ground as much as people expect," said Sam Le Cornu, a senior fund manager of Asian equities at Macquarie Funds Group.

"So far we're seeing above expectations on results, and any stock which does beat expectations, you see a rally quite aggressively," said Le Cornu.

Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., controlled by billionaire Li Ka-shing, rose 4.2 percent after posting first-half profit that was up nearly a quarter over the year before.

Sony Corp. rose 0.7 percent in Tokyo after the Japanese electronics giant returned to profit in the January-June period after a loss in 2012.

Benchmark crude for August delivery was up 27 cents to $108.15 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.86 to close at $107.89 a barrel on the Nymex on Thursday.

In currencies, the euro slipped to $1.3217 from $1.3226 late Thursday. The dollar edged up to 99.61 Japanese yen from 99.49 yen.

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