World stocks rise on US data, China stimulus hopes

By The Associated Press

LONDON (AP) - Global stock markets mostly rose Tuesday after a measure of U.S. consumer confidence hit a six-year high and amid hopes China will provide stimulus to its economy, the world's second-largest.

Sentiment had been buoyant since Monday, when expectations grew that China would provide stimulus after a survey confirmed the country's manufacturing sector continues to contract.

Confidence was also likely supported by an easing in concerns of an imminent escalation in sanctions between Russia and western powers. The U.S. and European countries said Monday that they could still impose economic sanctions on Russia, but suggested that would only happen if it tried to occupy more Ukrainian territory. They did not link them to Russia's current occupation of Crimea.

Gains in stock markets were then consolidated after the Conference Board in the U.S. said its measure of consumer confidence rose last month to its highest since January 2008. Another release showed U.S. home prices edged down in January for a third month, but at a high level compared with a year earlier.

In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 rose 1.3 percent to close at 6,604.89 while France's CAC-40 climbed 1.6 percent to 4,344.12. Germany's DAX rose 1.6 percent to 9,338.40 despite a drop in the country's Ifo business confidence survey. The survey showed companies are slightly more concerned over the risk of an economic impact from sanctions on Russia, but said it may be a temporary setback.

In the U.S., the S&P 500 was up 0.3 percent at 1,862.80 while the Dow gained 0.5 percent to 16,352.89.

Earlier, in Asia, trading was more cautious. Though China's Shanghai Composite rose 0.5 percent to 2,067.31, Japan's Nikkei 225 closed 0.4 percent lower at 14,423.19 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.5 percent to 21,732.32.

Benchmarks fell in Australia, South Korea, and most of Southeast Asia and were up in Taiwan, New Zealand and Malaysia.

In energy markets, the oil contract for May delivery was up 19 cents at $99.80 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 14 cents to close at $99.60 on Monday.

In currencies, the euro fell 0.2 percent to $1.3808 while the dollar rose less than 0.1 percent against the Japanese yen, to 102.28 yen.

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