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Global stocks rise as China credit growth rebounds

BEIJING/HONG KONG--Global stocks rose Monday after China's bank lending rebounded and European economic growth exceeded forecasts.

In Europe, France's CAC-40 rose 0.1 percent to 4,342.71 and Germany's DAX added 0.1 percent to 9,669.62. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.5 percent to 6,695.40.

Wall Street is closed Monday for a public holiday. Futures augured gains for its next trading session Tuesday, with Dow futures and S&P 500 futures both up 0.2 percent.

In Asia, stock markets rose on Monday following robust gains on Wall Street, despite disappointing Japanese growth figures that dampened hopes for a strong recovery.

Global markets rallied last week following a turbulent period, as investors were reassured that the U.S. economy could handle the Federal Reserve's decision to reduce its stimulus program.

On Monday, Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 0.56 percent, or 80.08 points, after a volatile session to end at 14,393.11. Seoul climbed 0.31 percent or 6.08 points to 1,946.36 and Sydney rose 0.50 percent or 26.6 points to close at 5,382.9.

Hong Kong closed up 1.07 percent, or 237.53 points, at 22,535.94, and Shanghai climbed 0.92 percent.

Chinese shares were buoyed by an easing in credit conditions as hopes grew for supportive government policies, dealers said.

Lending by Chinese banks and in the largely unregulated underground market rebounded to 2.6 trillion yuan (US$430 billion) in January from December's 1.2 billion yuan. Lending usually surges at the start of a new year but January's rise exceeded forecasts and might help to ease worries about cooling retail sales, manufacturing and other activity.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite finished up 19.56 points, at 2,135.41 on turnover of 126.2 billion yuan (US$20.8 billion).

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, vaulted 1.93 percent, or 22.00 points higher, to 1,160.39 on turnover of 181.8 billion yuan.

“Cash flow has improved, the crunch before Lunar New Year has passed, which is good news for the market,” Zheshang Securities analyst Zhang Yanbing told AFP.

“Investors are also upbeat ahead of the 'two sessions,'” he added, referring to twin official meetings due next month.

Data released Monday showed Japan's economy expanded 1.6 percent last year, in the first annual figure since Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe launched a policy blitz dubbed Abenomics.

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