World shares highest since June '08
Reuters, AP and AFPLONDON/HONG KONG--World shares hit their highest level since June 2008 and the dollar touched a fresh 3 1/2-year high against the yen on Friday, ahead of U.S. jobs data expected to point to a continuing pick up in the world's biggest economy.
March 9, 2013, 12:09 am TWN
China also gave markets a boost as official data showed February exports grew 21.8 percent versus a year ago, more than double the expected rise.
European shares, which have rebounded strongly after last week's Italian election and U.S. spending cuts-related wobble, were up 0.5 percent by mid-morning and on track for their biggest weekly gain since the start of the year.
Japan's Nikkei hit a 4-1/2 year high in Asian trading and 0.3, 0.7 and 0.5 rises by London's FTSE 100, Paris's CAC-40 and Frankfurt's DAX helped MSCI's world share index to its highest level since late June 2008.
The Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo jumped 2.6 percent to 12,283.62, as a weakening yen boosted export-linked shares.
Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.4 percent to 23,091.95 while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.3 percent to 5,123.40. Seoul was flat, edging up 1.61 points to 2,006.01.
Shanghai fell 0.24 percent, or 5.68 points, to 2,318.61 despite data showing China's exports had surged a much better-than-expected 21.8 percent on year in February, even with the week-long Lunar New Year holiday, while imports tumbled 15 percent.
“There appears to be a strong risk-on mood in the market at the moment,” said Ken Wattret, co-head of European market economics at BNP Paribas.
“The negativity from the Italian elections was shrugged off pretty quickly, the Fed has made it clear that its policy will remain accommodative. If we get a get a good set of payrolls numbers, that will further fuel that sentiment.”
Investors have been returning to stocks and other riskier assets over the last eight months as slowly improving world growth has been bolstered by the European Central Bank's pledge last August to prevent a break-up of the euro.
Wall Street was poised for solid gains with both Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.3 percent.
How U.S. stocks end what's been a historic week will likely hinge on the payrolls data, which are released an hour before the bell.
This week has seen the Dow hit a series of all-time highs, and that's contributed to the general feel-good factor across all financial markets.
The stock markets' gains come despite a fairly fragile global economic backdrop. The U.S. economy may be growing but its progress is patchy, while the economy of the 17 European Union countries that use the euro remains in recession.
The stronger dollar and the bright Chinese data were also the focus of commodity markets. Most of the world's raw materials are bought and sold in dollars so its movements can have a strong influence on prices.
Gold was at US$1,578.68 at 1115 GMT compared with US$1,581.45 late Thursday.
In other markets:
— Taipei rose 0.69 percent, or 54.63 points, to 8,015.14.
— Manila climbed 1.62 percent, or 108.64 points, to 6,833.77.
— Wellington rose 0.47 percent, or 20.55 points, to a record high 4,354.03.
— Singapore shed 0.27 percent, or 9.01 points, to close at 3,289.53.
— Jakarta ended up 0.54 percent, or 26.20 points, at 4,874.50.
— Bangkok rose 0.38 percent or 5.94 points to close at 1,566.92.
— Kuala Lumpur shares gained 0.18 percent, or 3.03 points, to 1,653.96.
— Mumbai rose 1.39 percent, or 269.69 points, to 19,683.23 points.