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World stocks rise after new Wall Street highs

MANILA/HONG KONG--World stock markets rose Tuesday after Wall Street indexes hit record highs, with Japan's Nikkei 225 leading gains as the yen weakened.

The Nikkei rose 2 percent, closing at 14,425.44 after a smaller-than-expected current account surplus for Japan weakened the yen. A weak yen usually boosts the share prices of Japanese exporters.

In European trading, Germany's DAX climbed 0.6 percent at 9,763.93. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.2 percent to 6,867.15 and France's CAC-40 was up 0.2 percent at 4,503.14.

Futures augured a muted opening on Wall Street, with Dow Jones Industrial futures up 0.2 percent and S&P 500 futures barely changed. Nasdaq enjoyed a boost as dealers raced back into technology shares after a recent sell-off that has seen some household names such as Twitter and Netflix tumble.

Analysts said there was no clear reason for the buying, but suggested there was a sense that some stocks had been oversold as investors worried the sector was overvalued.

In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.4 percent to 22,352.38 and China's Shanghai Composite index closed 0.1 percent down at 2,050.73 after retail sales, fixed asset investment and factory production data suggested that growth decelerated in April, though to still-robust levels.

“All the data is in-line with President Xi's call at the weekend that people must get used to the new normal” of slower growth, said Andrew Sullivan of Kim Eng Securities in Hong Kong.

Economic growth in the world's No. 2 economy slowed in the latest quarter to 7.4 percent.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 finished 0.9 percent higher at 5,498.20 and South Korea's Kospi was up 0.9 percent to 1,982.93.

Markets were also up in the Philippines, Indonesia and New Zealand. Bourses were closed for holidays in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Some U.S. indexes returned to record levels on Monday as investors regained their appetite for riskier stocks.

Mumbai surges as polls tip Modi win

In India, stock markets surged to record highs on hopes of a business-friendly government under Modi as exit polls showed him closing in on victory in the world's biggest democracy.

Mumbai rose 1.36 percent or 320.23 points to end at 23,871.23 points. Intra-day, the index rose to 24,068.94 points, a new record high.

Investors are hoping Modi will introduce more pro-business policies in a bid to jumpstart the Indian economy, which is expanding at its slowest rate in a decade.

“The expectation is that (the BJP alliance) will get to form the government comfortably and even if they need more allies they will not present a stumbling block for reforms,” Harendra Kumar, head of Mumbai-based brokerage Elara capital, told AFP.

Kiev denounced the balloting as a “criminal farce,” while the United States and European Union called the votes illegal.

However, the elections have fanned fears of a violent breakup of Ukraine and the possibility of a civil war on Europe's eastern edge.

Ukraine is a major conduit for Russian oil and gas exports to Europe, and any escalation of the conflict could disrupt supplies and send prices soaring, analysts say.

Gold fetched US$1,291.74 an ounce at 1045 GMT compared with US$1,294.30 late Monday.

In other Asia markets:

— Wellington was up 0.72 percent, or 36.92 points, at 5,199.34.

Telecom added 1.70 percent at NZ$2.68 and Fletcher Building rose 0.75 percent to NZ$9.39.

— Manila added 0.61 percent, or 41.47 points, to 6,852.81.

Puregold Price Club rose 4.35 percent to 48 pesos while Ayala Land added 0.79 percent to 32 pesos.

— Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur were closed for public holidays.

— Jakarta ended up 0.17 percent, or 8.40 points, at 4,921.39.

Coal mining firm Indo Tambangraya Megah gained 3.45 percent to 26,975 rupiah, while lender Bank Mega slipped 3.25 percent to 1,935 rupiah.

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