Nov 14, 2014 4:22 AM

Stocks mostly rise as Europe, Japan data awaited

The Associated Press

HONG KONG (AP) World stocks were mostly higher Friday as investors expected policymakers in Europe and Japan to open the stimulus taps wider as their economies slumber.

Investors were awaiting eurozone third quarter growth data on Friday as well as a Japanese GDP report next week that could provide the pretext for a snap election to renew the government's mandate for its unprecedented stimulus program.

KEEPING SCORE: European shares rose modestly in early trading. Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.1 to 6,640.09. France's CAC 40 advanced 0.3 percent to 4,200.09 and Germany's DAX climbed 0.3 percent to 9,272.86. U.S. stocks were set to open higher, with Dow futures edging up 0.2 percent to 17,628.00. Broader S&P 500 futures rose 0.1 percent to 2,036.00.

JAPAN ECONOMY: Tokyo stocks inched higher after a week of big gains as investors looked ahead to the Monday release of the latest quarterly GDP data for Asia's second largest economy. Japanese shares have been rising all week in hopes Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will call a snap election to seek a stronger mandate for his economic stimulus program and delay a tax hike; weak data may give him an excuse to do so.

THE QUOTE: More dismal data "would just be stirring further stimulus talks in Japan," said Desmond Chua, analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore. "All this tells me that the Nikkei and dollar/yen have some room to go upwards."

ASIA's DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 closed 0.6 percent higher at 17,490.83 after touching a seven-year high of 17,520 immediately after trading opened. South Korea's Kospi slid 0.8 percent to end at 1,945.14. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.3 percent to 24,087.38 while mainland China's Shanghai Composite fell 0.3 percent to 2,478.32. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.2 percent to 5,454.30.

STOCK LINK: The Hong Kong and Shanghai stock markets were subdued ahead of the launch of a cross-border stock trading link on Monday that will allow investors direct access to each other's exchanges for the first time. The benchmarks made big gains earlier this week in anticipation that the link will draw new capital

CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 116.27 yen from 116.07 in late trading Thursday. The euro weakened to $1.2452 from $1.2466.

ENERGY: U.S. oil prices dropped to a fresh four-year low. Benchmark U.S. crude sank 82 cents to $73.39 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $2.97 to close at $74.21 on Thursday.


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