Global stocks follow Wall St up on strong Japan, Korea data

Global stock markets have followed Wall Street higher after Japan and South Korea reported unexpectedly strong economic data and President Joe Biden announced a $2.3 trillion infrastructure spending plan

London and Frankfurt rose, while Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong closed higher.

Japan’s closely watched Tankan survey found business conditions improved more than expected. South Korea reported higher March export growth. House prices rose in New Zealand and Australian manufacturing expanded.

“Asia-Pacific released a lot of data today, including Japan’s latest Tankan survey. Most of it was positive,” Robert Carnell of ING said in a report.

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.6% to 6,754.27 and the DAX in Frankfurt added 0.5% to 15,079.15. The CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.2% to 6,080.08.

On Wall Street, the future for the benchmark S&P 500 index was up 0.3% and that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was less than 0.1% higher.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 rose 0.4% while the Dow lost 0.3%. The Nasdaq composite climbed 1.5%.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.7% to 3,466.33 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo advanced 0.7% to 29,388.87. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong climbed 1.9% to 39,929.07.

The Kospi in Seoul was 0.8% higher at 3,087.40 while Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.6% to 6,828.70.

India’s Sensex added 0.7% to 49,851.16. New Zealand and Jakarta declined Southeast Asian markets advanced.

Investors are swinging between optimism that coronavirus vaccines will allow business to return to normal and unease about rising infections in the United States and some European countries. That has prompted some to reimpose travel curbs.

In Japan, the Tankan index of business conditions for large manufacturers rose into positive territory for the first time since 2019.

That “supports our view that the economy’s recovery from the pandemic will gather pace again soon,” said Tom Learmouth of Capital Economics in a report.

South Korea reported March export growth accelerated to 16.6% over a year earlier from the previous month’s 9.5%.

On Wall Street, tech stocks powered much of S&P 500’s gains, even though more stocks in the index fell than rose. Apple, Microsoft and chipmaker Nvidia advanced while financial, energy and materials stocks declined.

The 10-year Treasury yield inched up to 1.74%, close to its highest level since before the pandemic rocked markets a year ago. Vaccinations and government spending plans have raised expectations for supercharged economic growth and a possible rise in inflation, which has pushed yields higher.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose $1.23 to $60.40 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.39 on Wednesday to $59.16. Brent crude, the price basis for international oils, added $1.22 to $63.96 per barrel in London. It lost 60 cents the previous session to $63.54.

The dollar declined to 110.70 Japanese yen from 110.75 yen. The euro gained to $1.1740 from $1.1727.

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