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World stocks rally on China measures, earnings

April 21, 2015

HONG KONG (AP) — World stock markets mostly rose Tuesday, boosted by optimism over recent market reforms in China as well as corporate earnings from U.S. and European companies.

KEEPING SCORE: Germany’s DAX rose 0.5 percent to 11,946.03, while benchmarks in London and Paris were roughly unchanged. U.S. stocks were poised to open higher, with Dow and S&P 500 futures each up 0.3 percent.

EARNINGS, ECONOMY: Investors are upbeat as they digest earnings reports. Switzerland’s Credit Suisse Group AG said its first-quarter profit rose 23 percent after stronger stock and bond trading income helped the bank overcome a surging Swiss franc. Wall Street bounced higher Monday after companies started posting healthy corporate results at the start of the busiest reporting week. Some 147 companies, close to one-third of those in the Standard & Poor’s 500, are scheduled to report results.

One weak spot was the ZEW gauge of German investor sentiment. The index dropped to 53.3 points in April from 54.8 the month before, short of analysts’ expectations for 55.3. Respondents cited higher concerns for the global economy, but remained positive on Germany’s outlook.

ASIA’S DAY: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng led a surge in Asian markets earlier, jumping 2.8 percent to close at 27,850.49. The Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China added 1.8 percent to 4,293.62. Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 1.4 percent to 19,909.09 while South Korea’s Kospi was down 0.1 percent at 2,144.79. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.7 percent to 5,872.30.

HK BOUNCE: Hong Kong stocks rebounded as investors shook off initial pessimism over mainland Chinese regulatory changes for stock investors and monetary loosening announced over the weekend. Mainland investors seeking attractively priced stocks have been piling into the Hong Kong market, which has underperformed compared with Shanghai over the past year. On Sunday, the central bank slashed the required reserve ratio for banks by 1 percentage point to stimulate lending. Separately, the stock regulator said Saturday that new measures to tighten some margin financing and encourage short selling were intended to prevent the market’s development and not meant as a crackdown.

MARKET VIEW: Chinese authorities are using the new measures, especially the reserve ratio cut, to “encourage a longer, steadier rally to take place and people are just reacting to that,” said Andrew Sullivan of Haitong Securities. “It does everything that China wants: it takes pressure off the housing bubble, makes people feel better off and it takes money out of the shadow banking system and puts it into stock market.”

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil lost 28 cents to $56.10 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, an international variety of oil, fell 50 cents to $62.95.

CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 119.37 yen from 119.26 yen in late trading Monday. The euro slipped to $1.0702 from $1.0741.

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