SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Global stocks mostly posted strong gains on Thursday as a rebound in the price of oil and solid U.S. manufacturing data boosted investor sentiment.
KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Germany’s DAX was up 1.6 percent to 9,522.40 and France’s CAC 40 traded 0.8 percent higher at 4,266.89. But Britain’s FTSE 100 edged down 0.3 percent to 6,013.21. Futures augured some gains for U.S. stocks. Dow and S&P futures were up 0.4 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.
IRAN RELIEF: Iran’s oil minister said the country supports “any measure” to boost oil prices and voiced its support for a plan to stabilize and boost prices laid out earlier this week by four influential oil producers. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Russia and Venezuela reached the agreement in Doha to cap their crude output if others do the same. It remains unclear, however, whether Iran would be willing to freeze its own output. Markets have been rattled the months-long slump in oil prices, which has hammered the shares of energy companies and spilled over into worries about losses for banks.
ANALYST’S TAKE: “Initial disappointment on the tentative ‘freeze’ agreement between Saudi Arabia and Russia was reversed after Iran voiced support for the agreement, raising hopes of further steps between major oil producers to stabilize the market,” said Mizuho Bank in a daily commentary.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. oil added 90 cents to $31.56 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Wednesday, the contract jumped $1.62. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, rose 82 cents to $35.32 in London.
ASIA’S DAY: Asian stock markets started with a broad rally but gains narrowed. Japan’s Nikkei 225 jumped 2.3 percent to 16,196.80 and South Korea’s Kospi rose 1.3 percent to 1,908.84. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng surged 2.3 percent to 19,363.08. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 2.3 percent to 4,992.00. Stocks in mainland China finished slightly lower while markets in Taiwan and Southeast Asian were higher.
US DATA: Sentiment has been buoyed by the Federal Reserve’s report that U.S. factories’ production of autos, furniture and other goods last month was the highest since July. Manufacturing output rose 0.5 percent in January, after falling in four of the previous five months. Overall industrial production, which includes mining and utilities, added 0.9 percent, the biggest jump in 14 months.
CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 113.92 yen from 114.14 yen. The euro fell to $1.1097 from $1.1124.
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