Global stocks higher ahead of US jobs data

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BANGKOK (AP) — Global stocks were mostly higher Friday as investors looked ahead to U.S. data on jobs and factory output, while Hong Kong rose despite pro-democracy protests.

KEEPING SCORE: France's CAC-40 added 0.5 percent to 4,264.57 points while London's FTSE 100 shed 1.7 percent to 6,446.39. German markets were closed for a holiday. Wall Street looked set for a strong opening, with futures for the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 both up 0.4 percent in pre-market trading. On Thursday, both were unchanged after three days of losses.

ASIA'S DAY: Hong Kong's Hang Seng plunged 1.4 percent at the opening after a two-day holiday break but recovered to close up 0.6 percent at 23,064.56 despite pro-democracy protests. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 gained 0.3 percent to 15,708.65 and Sydney's S&P ASX 200 added 0.4 percent to 5,318.20. Market benchmarks in Taiwan, Singapore and Manila also rose. South Korean and Indian markets were closed for holidays.

HONG KONG: Stocks rallied after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying offered talks with protesters who oppose plans to require candidates for the 2017 election for his successor to be approved by a panel dominated by pro-Beijing business leaders. Protesters say the communist mainland government is reneging on a promise of "universal suffrage" for the territory. Stocks in retailing and tourism have plunged but analysts say the economic impact of the protests is limited.

U.S. ECONOMY: Investors looked ahead to U.S. Labor Department data due out Friday that were expected to show employers added 215,000 jobs in September, but analysts say that might be too little to improve investor sentiment. Forecasters expect a separate report to show unemployment claims rose by 5,000 last week to 298,000. The Commerce Department was due to report August factory orders after July showed the biggest one-month gain since 1992.

EUROPE: Markets were disappointed after the European Central Bank said it will buy bonds to stimulate demand but failed to announce a size for the program or purchases of sovereign debt. Bank president Mario Draghi said the programs should help the ECB achieve its price stability target. Bond traders who bet on sovereign debt buying unwound their positions. Germany's Dax index lost 2 percent and France's CAC-40 fell 2.8 percent.

WALL STREET: Markets paused Thursday after three days of losses. Airlines and energy stocks rose. The Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 ended the day largely unchanged. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.2 percent while the Russell 2000 index of small company stocks gained 1 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 32 cents to $91.32 despite concern supplies exceed global demand. On Thursday, the contract added 28 cents to $91.01. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 14 cents to $93.56.

CURRENCY: The dollar rose to 108.86 yen from Thursday's 108.46. The euro held steady at $1.26.