European, Asian equities boosted by stimulus plan

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European, Asian equities boosted by stimulus plan

Europe’s ailing economy set to get a major dose of impetus

By (AP)

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Published: Sun 25 Jan 2015, 1:09 AM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 9:52 PM

London — European and Asian stocks zoomed higher on Friday as markets were energised for a second day by the European Central Bank’s bolder-than-expected stimulus plan.

France’s CAC 40 jumped 1.96 per cent to 4,642.8 and Germany’s DAX rose 1.77 per cent to 10,620. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 1.02 per cent to 6,796.6. US shares were also set to rise. Dow futures were steady at 17,753. S&P 500 futures gained 0.06 per cent to 2,057.65.

Europe’s ailing economy will get a major dose of stimulus from the European Central Bank’s bond-buying programme designed to make loans and exports cheaper so companies can hire and expand.

“The European Central Bank has set the ticker boards alight across the globe with investors responding favorably to another central bank deploying more stimulus,” IG strategist Stan Shamu said. “The next key event for markets will be the Greek elections which are set to take place this weekend.”

One dampener to the global growth optimism came from China. An HSBC report on Friday said China’s manufacturing shrank for a second month in January, largely because of weak demand. Earlier in the week, official Chinese data showed the world’s second-biggest economy expanded 7.4 per cent last year, the slowest pace since 1990.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.1 per cent to close at 17,511.75 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.3 per cent to 24,850.45. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.8 per cent to 1,936.09. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 jumped 1.5 per cent to 5,501.80. Markets in Taiwan, India and Southeast Asia also rose.

The dollar fell slightly to 117.93 yen from 118.56 yen the previous day. The euro, which fell on the ECB announcement to its lowest since September 2003, was down to $1.116 from $1.1356.

Spot gold was down 0.5 per cent at $1,294.70 an ounce by 1101 GMT. Bullion peaked at $1,306.20 on Thursday and was still headed for a third straight weekly gain. US gold futures were up $6.80 at $1,293.90 an ounce.

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