World stocks mostly rise amid China stimulus hopes

The Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Global stock markets mostly rose Tuesday on hopes that China will provide stimulus to its economy, the world's second-largest.

Expectations that China might announce new spending measures were boosted Monday by a survey that showed Chinese manufacturing contracted in March.

"The general mood is somewhat expectant of stimulus measures coming out of China," said Dariusz Kowalczyk of Credit Agricole in Hong Kong.

Sentiment was also supported by an easing in concerns of an escalation in sanctions between Russia and western powers. The U.S. and European countries said Monday that they could still target economic sanctions against Russia, but suggested that would only happen if it tried to occupy more Ukrainian territory.

In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 was up 1.2 percent at 6,598.54 while France's CAC-40 climbed 1.5 percent to 4,342.33. Germany's DAX rose 1.7 percent to 9,346.65 despite a drop in the country's Ifo business confidence survey. The survey showed companies are slightly more concerned over the risk of an economic impact from sanctions on Russia, but said it may be a temporary setback.

In the U.S., the S&P 500 was up 0.6 percent at 1,868.90 while the Dow gained 0.7 percent to 16,388.08. New economic data showed U.S. home prices edged down in January for a third month, but were still up at a strong rate from a year earlier.

Earlier, in Asia, trading was more cautious. Though China's Shanghai Composite rose 0.5 percent to 2,067.31, Japan's Nikkei 225 closed 0.4 percent lower at 14,423.19 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.5 percent to 21,732.32.

Benchmarks fell in Australia, South Korea, and most of Southeast Asia and were up in Taiwan, New Zealand and Malaysia.

In energy markets, the oil contract for May delivery was flat at $99.59 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 14 cents to close at $99.60 on Monday.

In currencies, the euro fell 0.4 percent to $1.3780 while the dollar rose 0.2 percent against the Japanese yen, to 102.44 yen.