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World markets advance on US consumer confidence

World markets advance on US consumer confidence

World stocks posted modest gains Wednesday, lifted by rising U.S. consumer confidence and a healing housing market that sent Wall Street higher overnight.
But analysts said investors remain cautious about the global economic outlook and have yet to be convinced that a strong recovery is underway. Castor Pang, an analyst at Sun Hung Kai Financial in Hong Kong, described overall market sentiment in Asia as lackluster as investors wait to see if China _ the key to boosting regional sentiment _ can sustain its growth in the second half.
"Especially when it comes to long-term growth, there are still many question marks," he said. "So most investors are just trying to wait and see whether the news in the future will be positive or negative."
Beijing is in the midst of a two-year, 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) effort to boost domestic consumption by pumping money into the economy. Economic growth accelerated to 7.9 percent in the latest quarter, but weak corporate profits and other areas suggest that a recovery is not firmly established.
As European trading got underway, France's CAC 40 rose 0.3 percent, Germany's DAX was up 0.2 percent and Britain's FTSE 100 was flat.
Earlier in Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.1 percent to 20,456.32 while the Shanghai Composite Index jumped 1.8 percent to 2,967.59, rebounding from a 2.6 percent slide the previous day.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 stock average climbed 1.4 percent to 10,639.71 as investors in the export-reliant country cheered the latest numbers out of Washington.
The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence index jumped to 54.1 this month from an upwardly revised 47.4 in July, beating expectations. Meanwhile, the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index rose 1.4 percent in the second quarter from the January-March period, the first quarterly increase in three years.
Shares of Toyota Motor Corp. advanced 1.5 percent after the world's biggest automaker announced its latest production cuts, spurring investor hopes for better efficiency and profits. Toyota has been re-examining its global strategy after reporting its worst-ever loss for the fiscal year ended in March.
The company will suspend production at one of two lines at a factory in central Aichi prefecture, Japan from spring of next year until the second half of 2011, lowering its overall capacity by 220,000 vehicles, spokesman Paul Nolasco said.
Benchmarks in South Korea, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand also rose. Taiwan was the region's only major decliner, falling 1.3 percent.
In the U.S. on Tuesday, the Dow Jones index rose 30.01, or 0.3 percent, to 9,539.29. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 2.43, or 0.2 percent, to 1,028.00, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 6.25, or 0.3 percent, to 2,024.23.
Wall Street futures suggested a stronger opening Wednesday. Dow futures were up 36, or 0.4 percent, at 9,559 while S&P futures rose 3.6, or 0.4 percent, to 1,029.70.
Crude oil prices rose in Asia trade, with benchmark crude for October delivery up 41 cents at $72.46. The contract fell 3 percent overnight.
The dollar slipped to 94.06 yen from 94.19 yen. The euro rose to $1.4318 from $1.4301.


Updated : 2021-07-28 03:43 GMT+08:00