Stocks rise on hopes of more upbeat US data

AP and AFP

LONDON/ HONG KONG–World stocks mostly rose as investors awaited a key U.S. jobs report Friday that they hoped would confirm the recovery in the world’s biggest economy is strengthening.

Market optimism had already been boosted by a report indicating U.S. manufacturing activity jumped last month, signaling a rebound in industrial production.

Economists on average expect Friday’s jobs report to show the number of employed increased by a net 183,000 in July, with the jobless rate dipping from 7.6 percent to 7.5 percent. Such an improvement is expected to be enough to persuade the Federal Reserve to start reining in its monetary stimulus program in the fall, as traders are currently expecting.

“The Fed has recently stressed the data dependence of its monetary policy decisions, which should heighten market reaction to the data,” analysts from UniCredit wrote in a note to clients.

After strong gains the day before, Germany’s DAX was up 0.1 percent to 8,414.74 while France’s CAC 40 rose 0.1 percent to 4,048.17. Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.1 percent at 6,674.45 as Royal Bank of Scotland shares fell 3.9 percent on disappointing earnings.

U.S. stocks were poised to rise. Dow futures gained 0.1 percent to 15,564 while the broader S&P 500 futures advanced almost 0.1 percent to 1,700.70. In Asia, markets climbed for a second straight session on Friday following another record close on Wall Street and a string of positive economic data from China, Europe and the United States. Buying sentiment was also helped by much welcomed earnings results, while investor confidence helped the dollar push higher. Tokyo surged 3.29 percent, or 460.39 points, to 14,466.16 as the yen slipped, while Seoul added 0.14 percent, or 2.64 points, to 1,923.38. Sydney rose 1.09 percent, or 55.3 points, to 5,116.8. Hong Kong closed 0.46-percent higher, adding 102.18 points, to 22,190.97 and Shanghai ended flat, edging up 0.35 points, to 2,029.42. Regional shares rallied on Thursday as traders welcomed the prospect the U.S. Federal Reserve will keep its stimulus in place as well as strong U.S. growth data and better-than-expected Chinese manufacturing. They were given another boost on Friday after a survey showed eurozone manufacturing activity last month was growing for the first time since July 2011.