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World stocks mostly rise on optimism over China, rates

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There is growing optimism that China's reopening will provide a boost to the global economy./AFP
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Jan 17, 2023 - 03:51 AM

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM — World equities mainly rose Monday on growing global optimism as inflation slows and China reopens, while gas prices hit an 18-month low on receding supply fears.

Frankfurt, London and Paris stocks climbed after broadly positive Asian trade, while the dollar rose against its main rivals.

Bitcoin shot above $20,000 as investors became more willing to take riskier bets.

New York markets were shut for Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.

Gas prices in Europe hit a 16-month low on easing winter supply fears and unusually warm weather, having surged last year when key producer Russia invaded Ukraine. Oil also fell.

“The panic-like situation from last year has been replaced by confidence that Europe will get through this winter without any (gas) supply issues,” Energi Danmark analysts said in a client note.

“Demand is low due to the mild weather while storages are filled much more than usual at this time of the year.”

Equities have won solid support this year on easing recession fears, after data last week showed US inflation at its lowest since October 2021.

The news boosted hopes that the Fed would lift interest rates by 0.25 percentage points next month after a string of larger hikes.

That eased worries about a possible recession for the world’s top economy and beyond.

Markets took a battering last year on surging inflation and aggressive interest rate hikes from the US Federal Reserve and other central banks.

While China is expected this week to report its worst annual growth since 1976 — excluding pandemic-ravaged 2020 — its emergence from zero-Covid and pledges to boost key sectors are raising hopes for a strong rebound.

Signs that Beijing was taking a lighter touch on the tech sector after a long-running crackdown were also lifting confidence and giving a boost to market majors, including Alibaba and Tencent.

China’s emergence from almost three years of strict virus containment measures is widely expected to give a major boost to the global economy.

But Michael Hewson at CMC Markets said oil prices were suffering as there was little indication of a boost in demand in China.

“Crude oil prices have also pulled back from last week’s peaks with little sign, as we approach Chinese New Year, of a significant pick-up in demand,” he said.

The main international oil contract, Brent crude, fell 1.3 percent in European trading.

Key figures around 1630 GMT 

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 7,860.07 points (close)

Frankfurt – DAX: UP 0.3 percent at 15,134.04 (close)

Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.3 percent at 7,043.31 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.2 percent at 4,157.00

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 1.1 percent at 25,822.32 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index: FLAT at 21,746.72 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: UP 1.0 percent at 3,227.59 (close)

New York – Dow: CLOSED for public holiday

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0824 from $1.0830 on Friday

Dollar/yen: UP at 128.55 yen from 127.87 yen

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2204 from $1.2210

Euro/pound: DOWN at 88.66 pence from 88.89 pence

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 1.3 percent at $78.81 a barrel

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 1.3 percent at $84.17 a barrel

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