World Economy

European, Asian Shares Rise Ahead of US Jobs Data

South Korea Stock ExchangeSouth Korea Stock Exchange

Shares were higher in Europe and most of Asia on Friday as investors awaited the release later in the day of US employment data. A weaker yen lifted Tokyo’s benchmark and South Korea’s Kospi rose after the Constitutional Court decided to remove the country’s president for the first time in history.

Germany’s DAX gained 0.4% to 12,020.04 and the CAC 40 of France added 0.3% to 4,995.51. The FTSE 100 in Britain climbed 0.4% to 7,345.07. Wall Street seemed headed for an upbeat start with both S&P 500 and Dow futures up 0.3%, AP reported.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.4%, set for its third straight session of gains. The index, however, was on track to post a slight loss for the week.

Eurozone banking stocks rose 2%, extending their rally from the previous session and hitting their highest level in more than a year on expectations of future policy tightening from the European Central Bank.

The STOXX banking index also gained 1.1% and was the top sectoral performer. Banco BPM, Bank of Ireland and UniCredit were among top gainers.

A rise in oil & gas shares also helped, partially recovering losses from the previous session as the price of oil rose from a three-month low.

The US government is due to issue the February jobs report late Friday. The Federal Reserve will likely opt for faster rate hikes if it sees another month of strong labor data figures, said Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG in Singapore.

The announcement of the South Korean Constitutional Court’s unanimous decision to uphold the parliament’s impeachment of President Park Geun-hye was broadcast live across Asia. The verdict clears the way for a presidential election in two months. Shares rose overall but EG Corp., a company owned by Park’s younger brother, fell as much as 20%, while other shares thought to be related to opposition party presidential contenders jumped.

In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 jumped 1.5% to 19,604.61 as the dollar surged against the yen, favoring manufacturers. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.3% to 2,097.35. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index added 0.3% to 23,568.67 and the Shanghai Composite Index edged 0.1% lower to 3,212.76. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6% to 5,775.60. Stocks in Taiwan fell and Southeast Asian benchmarks were mixed.

The dollar rose to 115.41 yen from 114.96 yen. The euro rose to $1.062 from $1.057.

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