Stock markets rise on strong German trade data

By ELAINE KURTENBACH Markets Associated Press

Stocks mostly rose on Tuesday on the back of upbeat trade data in Germany and as investors digest a string of strong earnings in the U.S.

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KEEPING SCORE: Germany's DAX gained 0.7 percent to 12,777 and the CAC 40 of France added 0.3 percent to 5,399. Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.7 percent to 7,353. U.S. markets also were poised for gains, with Dow futures up 0.2 percent and S&P 500 futures up 0.1 percent.

GERMAN TRADE GAINS: Germany's exports and imports rose to monthly records in March, as the trade surplus of Europe's biggest economy rose to 25.8 billion euros. The strong data adds to evidence of growing strength: the unemployment rate dropped to 5.8 percent in April as domestic demand has picked up along with exports.

SOUTH KOREA ELECTION: South Korea's markets were closed Tuesday for the presidential election. On Monday, the benchmark Kospi rallied 2.3 percent on expectations the vote will help ease uncertainties surrounding an influence peddling scandal that led to former President Park Geun-hye's impeachment. While the policy stances of the leading candidates are similar, "the filling of the political vacuum could go a long way to benefiting the economy," Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 index edged 0.3 percent lower to 19,843.00 and Australia's S&P ASX 200 lost 0.5 percent to 5,839.90. The Shanghai Composite index made up for early losses, gaining 0.1 percent to 3,080.53 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 1.3 percent to 24,889.03. Shares in Taiwan and Southeast Asia were mostly lower.

CURRENCIES: The euro fell to $1.0885 from $1.0925 on Monday. The dollar rose to 113.98 Japanese yen from 113.25 yen. The British pound slipped to $1.2911 from $1.2939.

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ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude was down 7 cents at $46.36 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, shed 6 cents to $49.28 a barrel.