Stocks rise ahead of ECB meeting
World stock markets have perked up as a meeting of the European Central Bank raises hopes for some type of action to ease the continent's debt and banking crisis.
The meeting of the ECB's governing council, to be held later, gave hope to traders downcast by a dismal slew of economic data, including a disappointing US jobs report and a months-long slowdown in Chinese manufacturing.
European shares rose in early trading. The FTSE 100 in Britain, where markets were closed on Monday and Tuesday for Jubilee celebrations, gained 1.5% to 5,336.86. Germany's DAX rose 1.9% to 6,084.43 and France's CAC-40 gained 2% to 3,045.93.
Wall Street appeared set for gains, with Dow Jones industrial futures rising 0.8% to 12,222 and S&P 500 futures adding 1% to 1,298.
Asian stocks, meanwhile, rose following the release of data by the Institute for Supply Management that showed US non-manufacturing activity edging up to 53.7 last month from an April reading of 53.5.
Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1.8% to close at 8,533.53. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1.4% to 18,520.53. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged 0.3% up to 4,055.30. Benchmarks in Singapore, Indonesia and Taiwan also moved higher, but those in mainland China fell. Markets in South Korea were shut for a public holiday.
Some analysts said investors were hanging on to hopes for action by central banks and other authorities to stimulate growth, including a new round of quantitative easing by the US Federal Reserve.
"Right now what is keeping the market alive is just accommodative policies from governments around the world," said Lee Kok Joo, head of research at Phillip Securities in Singapore.
"If we look at market activity closely, the volume doesn't seem to be so strong. There are still a lot of people who are not believers yet who are just staying on the sidelines, waiting for clearer visibility."
That might come on June 17 when Greece holds elections that could determine whether the country will leave the euro currency union. A messy exit from the currency bloc by Greece would be sure to hit financial markets.