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World stocks gain on China exports, US jobs data

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[June 11, 2010]  BANGKOK (AP) -- World stock markets rose Friday, buoyed by optimism that the global economy could weather Europe's debt crisis after China's exports surged and U.S. jobless claims fell.

InsuranceEven a dramatic warning from Japan's new prime minister that his country could face a financial mess like the one that has crippled Greece failed to dent the buying mood.

Oil, meanwhile, fell modestly after a big jump the day before on signs of stronger U.S. fuel demand. The dollar gained against the yen and was little changed against the euro.

Sentiment was upbeat in as investors continued to take heart from a 48.5 percent jump in China's exports in May. The figure relieved investors, who have fretted Europe's fiscal crisis could hamper a global economic recovery.

The U.S. Labor Department, meanwhile, said jobless claims fell to 456,000 last week. Total claims fell by the largest amount in nearly a year.


"China's export growth reassured investors that a recovery in the global economy remains on track," said Yutaka Shiraki, senior strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. Ltd. in Tokyo.

As trading got underway in Europe, benchmarks in Britain and France were modestly higher while Germany's DAX fell slightly. Futures pointed to tepid gains Friday on Wall Street with Dow futures up 6 points, or 0.1 percent, at 10,152.

In Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average was unfazed by Prime Minister Naoto Kan's blunt warning about the country's finances, gaining 162.60 points, or 1.7 percent, to 9,705.25.

Japan is on firmer financial footing than Greece because most of its debt is held domestically and Kan's statements appeared designed to push forward his agenda, which may involve raising taxes.

"Greece had a huge public debt and huge overseas loans," said Hiromichi Shirakawa, chief economist at Credit Suisse Japan. "Japan has a trade surplus, and it's a major creditor nation ... I don't think Japan's fiscal conditions is facing a similar crisis."

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Elsewhere, South Korea's Kospi added 1.4 percent to 1,675.34 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.6 percent at 4,505.50. Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 1.2 percent to 19,872.38. Benchmarks in mainland China, Singapore and Taiwan also advanced.

In New York Thursday, the Dow Jones industrial average surged 273.28 points, or 2.8 percent, to 10,172.53. It was the Dow's first close above 10,000 this week.

Investors also cheered the European Central Bank's decision Thursday to keep its key interest rate unchanged at 1 percent in a bid to shore up the region's economy.

In currencies, the dollar rose to 91.60 yen from 91.40 yen in New York late Thursday. The euro edged down to $1.2103 from $1.2106.

Benchmark crude for July delivery was down 54 cents at $74.94 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.10 to settle at $75.48 on Thursday.

[Associated Press]

Associated Press writers Shino Yuasa and Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed to this report.

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


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