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World stocks rise amid US job hopes

World stocks have risen following an absence of bad financial news and signs that the US economy may be strengthening.

Benchmark oil hit 102 dollars 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% to 5,662.63, Germany's DAX jumped 1.4% to 6,100.30 and France's CAC-40 rose 1.6% to 3,177.48.

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

Japan's Nikkei 225 index, reopening after a three-day holiday weekend, added 0.4% to close at 8,422.26, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.7% to 19,004.28 and South Korea's Kospi jumped 1.5% to 1,853.22. Australia's S&P ASX 200 was up 1.1% at 4,152.20.

Improving economic data out of the US was one key factor working in favour of markets, said Cameron Peacock, of IG Markets in Melbourne.

The US added 200,000 jobs in December in a burst of hiring that drove the unemployment rate down two notches to 8.5%, 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," Mr Peacock said in a report.

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

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


From Belfast Telegraph