BANGKOK (AP) — World stocks moved modestly higher Thursday, underpinned by speculation that China's central bank will ease monetary policy next week when Chinese and Hong Kong markets are closed for an extended holiday.
European stocks, which took a beating Wednesday, clawed back some lost ground. Britain's FTSE 100 rose nearly 0.2 percent to 5,777.06. Germany's DAX rose 0.4 percent to 7,302.57 and France's CAC-40 gained 0.4 percent to 3,427.69.
Wall Street appeared set for gains. Dow Jones industrial futures added 0.3 percent to 13,388 while S&P 500 futures rose 0.3 percent to 1,431.80.
The positive tone was set earlier in Asia, helped by expectations the People's Bank of China will soon take more steps to ease a slowdown in the world's No. 2 economy.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed more than 1.1 percent to 20,762.29 and mainland China's Shanghai Composite Index jumped 2.6 percent to 2,056.32. The smaller Shenzhen Composite Index also gained 2.6 percent to 837.96.
South Korea's Kospi increased 0.4 percent to 1,988.70. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia also rose.
"We don't know what will happen over the holiday. We do not have enough time to respond so that is why we are doing some portfolio management and risk management this week," said Linus Yip, strategist at First Shanghai Securities in Hong Kong.
Japan's Nikkei 225 rose about 0.5 percent to 8,949.87, a day before the release of key economic data for August. Analysts at DBS Bank Ltd. in Singapore said industrial production for Japan is expected to contract and retail sales growth will likely stay negative.
"Global demand conditions have remained weak and the outlook is subdued and uncertain. Adding to this is the recent escalation of China-Japan tensions, which could lead to further deterioration in export demand from China in the short term," DBS said in a market commentary.
All Nippon Airways fell 2.4 percent in Tokyo, a day after the airline said the number of seats cancelled by Japanese customers who had planned to travel to China reached about 40,000 for the September-November period, Kyodo News reported.
Violent protests on the streets of Athens and Madrid sent stocks sharply lower on Wednesday, reigniting concerns over Europe's ability to implement the measures needed to deal with its big debts.
The latest turmoil to afflict the 17 nation euro currency union began late Tuesday, when clashes broke out at a demonstration in Madrid that was protesting new austerity measures from the Spanish government. That was followed Wednesday by a general strike in Greece, which also turned violent.
Benchmark oil for November delivery was up 14 cents to $90.12 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.39 to finish at $89.98 per barrel on the Nymex on Wednesday.
In currencies, the euro rose to $1.2875 from $1.2859 late Wednesday in New York. The dollar fell to 77.68 yen from 77.72 yen.