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Stocks up after China growth report, Asia dawdles

TOKYO/HONG KONG--European stocks advanced Wednesday after China's economic growth picked up slightly in the second quarter but Asian markets were lukewarm about the data that largely fitted expectations.

The world's second-largest economy expanded 7.5 percent over a year earlier in the April-June quarter, picking up slightly from 7.4 percent growth in the first quarter, and suggesting the government's mini-stimulus measures had helped to offset a housing slowdown.

In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.9 percent to 6,770.58 and the CAC-40 in France surged 1.4 percent to 4,363.72. Germany's DAX rose 1.2 percent to 9,835.02.

Wall Street was poised for gains. Dow futures added 0.3 percent to 17,040 and S&P 500 futures gained 0.3 percent to 1,973.30.

Asian markets were mixed Wednesday, with investors unimpressed by data showing better than expected Chinese economic growth in the second quarter.

The dollar held on to gains made in New York after U.S. Federal Reserve head Janet Yellen suggested interest rates could rise earlier than expected if the jobs market continues to pick up.

Tokyo dipped 0.10 percent, or 15.86 points, to finish at 15,379.30, while Sydney rose 0.14 percent, or 7.6 points, to 5,518.9 and Seoul edged up 0.76 points to 2,013.48.

Shanghai eased 0.15 percent, or 3.08 points, to 2,067.28 while Hong Kong added 0.27 percent, or 63.32 points, to close at 23,523.28.

China's National Bureau of Statistics said Wednesday the economy grew 7.5 percent in April-June thanks largely to government stimulus measures aimed at tackling a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy.

The figure beat the 7.4 percent in the previous three months and exceeded the median forecast of 7.4 percent in a survey of 17 economists by AFP.

“Generally speaking, China's economy showed good momentum of stable and moderate growth in the first half-year,” said statistics bureau spokesman Sheng Laiyun.

However he added “we should keep in mind that the domestic and international economic environment is still complicated and the national economy still faces many challenges.”

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