BANGKOK (AP) — Optimism that easy European and U.S. monetary policy will continue boosted global stock markets Friday as investors awaited a key American jobs report later in the day.
The prospect of continued monetary stimulus helped offset worries earlier in the week of a Chinese slowdown, European debt woes re-emerging and disruption of energy markets due to the military ouster of Egypt's president.
Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan markets posted the biggest gains in Asia. Most of the region's other major indexes were also in positive territory after the European Central Bank kept its policy interest rate at a record low to combat a persistent recession. ECB President Mario Draghi said the rate will remain there "for an extended period of time." European markets were moderately higher after sizeable gains the day before.
The European statement plus indications that the U.S. economy is growing — but probably not fast enough for the U.S. Federal Reserve to rush into tapering off its purchases of $85 billion in bonds each month to keep interest rates low — boosted markets that had been spooked in recent weeks at the prospect of such stimulus ending.
"It's been a wild ride over recent weeks, but market volatility is set to ease as markets undergo an eventually successful transition to Fed tapering," Credit Agricole analysts said in a market commentary. They said that while overall Asian growth appeared to have slowed in early 2013, regional powerhouse China should "gradually re-accelerate" in the second half of the year.
In early European trading, Britain's FTSE 100 was up 0.2 percent to 6,437.17 and Germany's DAX added 0.1 percent to 8,003.18. France's CAC-40 dropped 0.3 percent to 3,798.88.
Futures augured gains on Wall Street after the Independence Day holiday. Dow futures climbed 0.9 percent to 15,053 and S&P 500 futures gained by the same percentage to 1,623.50.
In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 closed up 2.1 percent to 14,309.97 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1.9 percent to 20,854.67. Taipei's TAIEX jumped 1.4 percent to 8,001.82.
Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 edged up 1 percent to 4,841.70 and China's Shanghai Composite posted a small gain of 0.1 percent to 2,007.29.
Seoul's KOSPI was in negative territory, edging down 0.3 percent to 1,833.31 after shares of Samsung Electronic fell nearly 4 percent on disappointment its quarterly operating profit failed to meet expectations. The company estimated April-June earnings at a record high 9.5 trillion won ($8.3 billion) but that was below analysts' forecasts and investors are worried profit growth could slow as smartphone sales in rich nations reach a saturation point.
"There is some market shock from the Samsung results," said strategist Kang Hyun-cheol of Woori Investment & Securities.
Investors were waiting for a U.S. government jobs report due Friday. Earlier in the week, Wall Street rallied after ADP, a payrolls processor, said that businesses added more jobs last month than analysts had expected. If the U.S. government confirms that Friday, it offers hope that the American recovery is continuing.
Economists predict that the government will report that employers added 165,000 jobs last month, roughly in line with May's increase. The unemployment rate is expected to stay at a still-high 7.6 percent. Another solid month of hiring in June could signal the start of a stronger second half of the year for the U.S. economy.
Benchmark crude for August delivery was down 7 cents at $101.18 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In currencies, the euro fell to $1.2874 from $1.2902. The dollar fell to 100.05 yen from 100.23 yen late Thursday.
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