World stocks mixed ahead of US home sales figures

AP and AFP

BANGKOK/HONG KONG — Asian stocks rebounded Friday on encouraging economic data from China and Europe, but markets elsewhere paused as traders waited for data on U.S. home sales. In early European trading, Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.2 percent to 6,457.64. But Germany’s DAX was marginally lower at 8,392.54 and France’s CAC-40 fell 0.5 percent 4,039.60. Wall Street looked set to fall, with Dow Jones industrial futures down 0.2 percent at 14,917. S&P 500 futures lost 0.1 percent to 1,652.90. The investment mood was cautious ahead of the U.S. government’s release of new home sales for July, which should yield clues about the health of the U.S. economy. Data on European consumer confidence was also due to be released. On Wall Street the Dow rose 0.44 percent, the S&P 500 added 0.86 percent and the Nasdaq jumped 1.08 percent. Those rises came despite an unexplained glitch that shut down trading on the Nasdaq for about three hours, which interrupted business on other markets. Thursday’s figures came as some relief to global traders in a week that has seen heavy selling — particularly in emerging nations — in expectation the Fed’s bond-buying scheme known as quantitative easing (QE) will soon come to an end.

Meanwhile in Asia, markets firmed on Friday as a slew of upbeat manufacturing data from around the globe offset concerns about the U.S. Federal Reserve’s plans for its stimulus program. The positive lead provided a much-needed boost for emerging economies, which have suffered a torrid week as dealers bet on an end to the Fed’s monetary easing that has fuelled an investment splurge in Asia. Tokyo jumped 2.21 percent thanks to a rally in the dollar against the yen, ending 295.38 points higher at 13,660.55. At one point the index was more than three percent higher. Sydney climbed 0.94 percent, or 47.7 points, to 5,123.4 and Seoul added 1.14 percent, or 21.04 points, to end at 1,870.16. However, profit-taking sent Hong Kong lower, ending down 0.15 percent, or 31.89 points, at 21,863.51 while Shanghai eased 0.47 percent, shedding 9.66 points to 2,057.46. In share trading Jakarta ended down 0.04 percent or 1.59 points at 4,169.83, Kuala Lumpur gained 0.04 percent or 0.70 points to 1,721.07 while Bangkok fell 1.01 percent, or 13.68 points, to 1,338.13. Mumbai rose 1.13 percent, or 206.50 points, to 18,519.44 points, its second straight day of gains, as the rupee showed signs of a recovery.