World Economy

Asian, European, American Stocks Higher

Asian, European, American Stocks HigherAsian, European, American Stocks Higher

Asian stock markets rose Monday, extending a global rally after a strong finish last week on Wall Street, as investors turned their attention to upcoming meetings by the Fed and other major central banks.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 1.8% to 17,238.13 while South Korea’s Kospi edged up 0.1% to 1,973.47. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.2% to 20,466.65 and the Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China gained 2.6% to 2,884.03. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.3% to 5,242.40. Benchmarks in Taiwan and Southeast Asia also rose, Reuters reported.

Chinese stock markets appeared to be buoyed by comments from the chief of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, who told a press conference on Saturday that it’s too early to talk about winding back official support measures for stock markets, according to the official Xinhua news agency. That suggests state money to prop up Chinese equities, which have gyrated since a meltdown last summer, will remain in place for a while longer.

In Japan, private sector machinery orders jumped 15% in January over a year earlier, the biggest such increase since comparable data became available starting in April 2005. Machinery orders are seen as a leading indicator, so some analysts say they expect capital spending to recover this year.

Meanwhile, European shares rose on Monday, extending gains made in the previous session and with banking stocks among the top performers, as funding plans from the European Central Bank buoyed the sector.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which had climbed 2.7% on Friday, was up 0.9%.

Banks such as Monte dei Paschi and Banco Comercial Portugues were among the top performers, rising 7.3% and 5% respectively.

In Wall Street trading, major US benchmarks finished strong on Friday, capping a four-week winning streak. The S&P 500 gained 1.6% to 2,022.19, and is up now nearly 11% from Feb. 11. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 1.3% to 17,213.31, while the Nasdaq composite climbed 1.9% to 4,748.47.

US benchmark crude fell 8 cents to $38.43 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added 66 cents, or 1.7%, to settle at $38.50 per barrel on Friday. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, gained 6 cents to $40.45 a barrel.

The dollar dipped to 113.79 yen from 113.81 yen while the euro rose to $1.1160 from $1.1157.