World Markets Rise as Worries Over US Economy Ease

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

LONDON (AP) -- World stock markets rose Thursday as worries eased that the U.S. might be slipping toward recession, while the resignation of Steve Jobs -- the creative force behind Apple Inc. -- sent ripples through the technology sector.
Upbeat earnings in Europe helped lift the market's moods, though trading is expected to remain tentative as investors wait to see if Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will boost the economy with a new bond-buying stimulus program. The U.S. central banker is due to hold a speech in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Friday.
Britain's FTSE 100 was 0.1 percent higher at 5,213.15 and Germany's DAX gained 0.9 percent to 5,730.33. France's CAC-40 rose 0.8 percent to 3,163.68.
Commodities trader Glencore reported better-than-expected earnings for its first half of the year and saw its shares rise more than 4 percent. Shares in drinks maker Diageo also rose about 2 percent after it offered upbeat figures.
Strong earnings from French bank Credit Agricole, meanwhile, helped support financial stocks across Europe. Its shares were 5 percent higher on the day.
Corporate profits have been resilient despite increased concerns about a global economic slowdown. Worries that the U.S. in particular could be headed for another recession has in recent weeks caused huge volatility in equities, bonds and foreign exchange.
Those concerns were alleviated somewhat by data on Wednesday showing a surge in demand for big-ticket items like kitchen appliances, cars and planes in the U.S. in July.
That helped Asian markets close higher and gave a boost to Wall Street, which was set to enjoy further gains on Thursday. Dow Jones industrial futures were up 0.1 percent at 11,276 while S&P 500 futures were up almost 0.1 percent at 1,172.
News of Jobs' departure as CEO of Apple caused a stir among analysts, who sought to estimate the potential impact on the wider sector.
Shares in technology companies that are direct competitors to Apple rose, though the gains weren't dramatically out of line with broader market movements.
Shares in Nokia Corp., which aims to challenge the iPhone with a new Windows handset developed with Microsoft, were up 0.8 percent.
However, Taiwan's FoxConn Technology Co., which makes the iPhone and iPad for Apple at a massive manufacturing campus in southern China, saw big losses -- its shares plummeted 7 percent.
The resignation of Jobs, who is widely credited with turning an ailing Apple into a phenomenally successful technology company, appears to be the result of an unspecified medical condition for which he took a leave from his post in January.
Apple's chief operating officer, Tim Cook, was quickly named CEO of the company Jobs co-founded in his garage 35 years ago.
Samsung Electronics Co. rose 2.4 percent following a court ruling in the Netherlands involving the company's ongoing global patent fight with Apple over smartphone and tablet technology and news of Jobs' departure. The court ruling Wednesday was seen as largely positive for Samsung.
Lee Min-hee, an analyst at Dongbu Securities in Seoul, said that Samsung could ultimately benefit from the departure of Jobs as it may erode Apple's competitiveness in marketing and product development.
"I think it's a good impact on Samsung Electronics in competition," Lee said.
Samsung is both a supplier of components to Apple as well as a competitor in smartphones and tablet computers.
In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 climbed 1.5 percent to close at 8,772.36. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was 1.4 percent higher to 19,744.50.
South Korea's Kospi rose 0.6 percent to 1,764.58 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was 1.1 percent higher at 4,212.80. Benchmarks in Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand also gained, while indexes in Taiwan, India and the Philippines dropped.
Mainland Chinese shares saw their biggest gain in 10 months with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index adding 2.9 percent to 2,615.26 while the Shenzhen Composite Index gained 1.9 percent to 1,166.79.
Benchmark oil for October delivery was up 54 cents to $85.70 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude lost 28 cents to settle at $85.16 on Wednesday.
In currencies, the euro slipped to $1.4416 from $1.4421 in late trading Wednesday in New York. The dollar was up at 77.11 yen from 77.01 yen.


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