Global stock markets gain as strong US payroll data eclipse Greek risk

Energy Associated Press

Global stocks were higher on Thursday as expectations for solid U.S. jobs data overshadowed worries about Greek debt.

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KEEPING SCORE: European stocks opened sharply higher. Britain's FTSE 100 was up 1.3 percent to 6,607.79 and France's CAC 40 jumped 2 percent to 4,885.45. Germany's DAX climbed 2.3 percent to 11,187.75. Futures showed that Wall Street was set for a tepid start. S&P 500 futures rose 0.1 percent while Dow futures gained 0.1 percent.

DATA WATCH: Payroll processor ADP said on Wednesday that businesses added 237,000 jobs last month, up from 203,000 in May and the most since December. A separate survey showed U.S. manufacturing growth improved in June. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said its manufacturing index rose to the highest level this year. The ADP report is seen as an indicator of the U.S. government's monthly jobs report which will be released later Thursday. The consensus forecast is that employers added a solid 233,000 jobs and that the unemployment rate dipped to 5.4 percent from 5.5 percent from May.

GREEK WATCH: Greece's government pressed ahead Wednesday with its plan to put austerity measures to voters after European creditors rebuffed its latest proposal for a new aid program. Eurozone finance ministers refused to negotiate any more aid until the referendum clears up what the country wants. Greece failed to repay a loan to the International Monetary Fund that was due on Tuesday after talks between the nation and its creditors broke down late last week.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "The latest news from Greece was somewhat ambiguous," Mizuho Bank said in a commentary. "Markets appear to have shifted attention to U.S. data releases, albeit temporarily," it said. "ADP was much better than expected and this also suggests that (nonfarm payrolls) today may be strong."

ASIA SCOREBOARD: Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1 percent to 20,522.50 and South Korea's Kospi added 0.5 percent to 2,107.33. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.1 percent to 26,282.32 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 advanced 1.5 percent to 5,599.80. Stocks in Southeast Asia and New Zealand were also higher. But China's Shanghai Composite slumped 3.5 percent to close at 3,912.77.

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ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 14 cents to $56.82 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract dropped $2.51 to close at $56.96 a barrel in New York on Wednesday. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, gained 31 cents to $62.32 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The euro strengthened to $1.1079 from $1.1041 in the previous session. The dollar rose to 123.55 yen from 123.24 yen.