Hopes of global recovery shore up markets
HONG KONG/LONDON/NEW YORK, AFP and AP
January 16, 2014, 12:10 am TWN
AFP and AP--Japanese shares led markets higher on Wednesday as investor sentiment recovered amid hopes for the global economy.
The turnaround began on Tuesday after the U.S. posted another month of retail sales growth, a 0.2 percent monthly rise in December. The rise, while modest, helped assuage some concerns about the strength and durability of the U.S. economic recovery following weak jobs data.
Meanwhile, the World Bank sounded a note of optimism by indicating that the global economy has turned a corner after five years of financial crises and recession.
"Equity markets welcomed the international financial organization's outlook for 2014, in which it raised its global growth forecasts for the year," said David Madden, market analyst at IG.
In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.3 percent at 6,788 while Germany's DAX rose 0.9 percent to 9,629. The CAC-40 in France was 0.5 percent higher at 4,295.
A softer yen helped, particularly the share prices of exporters such as Toyota and Sony — a lower currency potentially helps them in international markets.
U.S. stocks closed solidly higher Tuesday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 115.92 points (0.71 percent) to 16,373.86.
The broad-market S&P 500 advanced 19.68 (1.08 percent) to 1,838.88 and the tech-rich Nasdaq rose 69.71 (1.69 percent) to 4,183.02.
"The stock gods decided to buy the dip on Tuesday, a day after the biggest sell-off in about three months," said Jon Ogg at 24/7 Wall St.
Asia's markets mostly rose on Wednesday after a surprisingly strong batch of retail data out of the United States eased concerns about the world's number one economy.
The better-than-forecast figures provided a springboard for a rally on Wall Street and gave some support for the dollar against the yen.
Tokyo led gainers to surge 2.50 percent — its best performance of 2014 helping it claw back some of the losses of more than three percent suffered on Tuesday. The Nikkei ended 386.33 points higher at 15,808.73.
Sydney rose 0.64 percent, or 33.4 points, to 5,245.4 and Seoul added 0.37 percent, or 7.21 points, to 1,953.28.
Hong Kong ended 0.49 percent higher, adding 110.72 points, to 22,902.00 but Shanghai closed down 0.17 percent, or 3.49 points, at 2,023.35.
The 0.2 percent rise in U.S. retail sales in December upended estimates of no change.
That figure is an even more impressive 0.7 percent if a sharp fall in auto sales is taken out of the equation owing to severe cold weather across the country.
Tuesday's figure boosted Wall Street's main indexes, with the Dow jumping 0.71 percent, the S&P 500 up 1.08 percent and the Nasdaq adding 1.69 percent.