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World stocks get lift from manufacturing data

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[April 20, 2010]  LONDON (AP) -- World stocks rose Thursday after strong manufacturing data encouraged hopes that the global recovery from recession is gaining traction -- a day ahead of key U.S. jobs data that could set the tone in the markets once many investors return next week from the Easter break.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 51.35 points, or 0.9 percent, at 5,730.99 while Germany's DAX rose 55.94 points, or 0.9 percent, to 6,209.49. The CAC-40 in France was 43.91 points, or 1.1 percent, higher at 4,017.92.

Wall Street was also poised to join the advance that started in Asia earlier -- Dow futures were up 53 points, or 0.5 percent, at 10,840 while the broader Standard & Poor's 500 futures rose 5.3 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,170.50.

The rise in the markets came as manufacturing data from around the world reinforced optimism about the global economic recovery. Surveys for the eurozone, Britain and China all outperformed expectations -- in the case of the eurozone, manufacturing activity was at a 40-month high in March.

"European numbers added further weight to the hopes that the global economic recovery is gathering momentum," said Jane Foley, research director at Forex.com.

In Japan, the closely watched Tankan report showed companies' confidence rose for a fourth straight quarter -- in fact, it was the most upbeat Tankan survey since before Lehman Brothers' collapse in September 2008.

Taken together, the reports suggested international trade was on the mend and contributed to a growing belief the global economy can avoid slipping back into recession.

Investors will be looking to see if the monthly U.S. manufacturing survey from the Institute for Supply Management, due later in the day, is equally rosy.

The upbeat data have helped rein in the concerns stoked Wednesday by a disappointing U.S. jobs survey from the private payrolls firm ADP, which suggested that official government figures Friday will come in below expectations

Traditionally, the nonfarm payrolls data set the market tone for a week or two but this month's figures will be released as many traders head off for the Easter break. All major stock indexes in Europe and the U.S. are closed for Good Friday, suggesting that most of the initial reaction to the payrolls data will be seen in the currency markets.

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Nursing Homes

Before the ADP report, the consensus in the markets was for a net gain in payrolls of around 170,000 jobs in March, but analysts are now less confident that the U.S. economy created that many jobs.

Investors have further U.S. jobs data to digest later Thursday -- weekly jobless claims and a survey from the Challenger job-placement firm -- before Friday's main report.

Anthony Grech, market strategist at IG Index, said solid payrolls figures on Friday would "draw a neat line under an impressive first quarter, while a worse than expected number may shake sentiment."

However, before then, trading volumes are expected to wind down in the run-up to the Easter break.

By late morning London time, the euro was 0.1 percent lower at $1.3498 while the dollar was flat at 93.40 yen.


Earlier in Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average gained 154.46 points, or 1.4 percent, to 11,244.40, while Hong Kong's market index rose 1.4 percent to 21,537.00 and South Korea's Kospi benchmark was up 1.6 percent at 1,719.17.

Elsewhere, China's Shanghai market rose 1.2 percent and Australia's index gained 0.7 percent.

The benchmark oil contract added 51 cents to $84.27 a barrel.

[Associated Press; By PAN PYLAS]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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