Global stock markets mostly gain on Europe, US economic data and China stimulus hopes

MarketsAssociated Press

Global stock markets mostly climbed Tuesday, boosted by positive data from major economies and hopes for stimulus in China.

KEEPING SCORE: France's CAC 40 added 0.2 percent to 5,092.19 in early trading and Germany's DAX edged up 0.1 percent to 12,095.24. But Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.1 percent to 6,883.22. U.S. shares were set to drift somewhat lower. S&P 500 futures dipped 0.2 percent to 2,072.10.

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GLOBAL DATA: Markets are being cheered by positive data from the U.S. and Europe, and are expecting generally favorable company earnings reports as well. A European Commission survey has shown economic sentiment at its highest since July 2011. Consumer spending edged up in the U.S. in February following two straight monthly declines, and consumers' incomes rose a solid 0.4 percent.

CHINA FACTOR: In China, hopes are growing for more economic stimulus. Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People's Bank of China, indicated last weekend that the world's No. 2 economy had slowed "a bit too sharply," suggesting additional government measures might be coming.

ANALYST TAKE: "The shift to positive sentiment started with comments from China over the weekend that indicated further central bank stimulus is imminent," Michael McCarthy, chief strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, said in a commentary. "Investors were in a 'on the one hand, on the other hand' mode, responding positively to good economic news and comforted by the potential for ECB and PBoC action should the scenario sour."

ASIA'S DAY: Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.2 percent to 24,900.89 while China's Shanghai Composite Index declined 1 percent to 3,747.90 after surging the day before. Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 1.1 percent to 19,206.99. South Korea's Kospi advanced 0.5 percent to 2,041.03 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.8 percent to 5,891.50. Markets in Southeast Asia mostly rose.

ENERGY: U.S. oil was down $1.12 to $47.62 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The futures contract fell 19 cents to $48.68 a barrel on Monday. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, was down $1.15 to $55.14 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The euro fell to $1.0736 from $1.0825 the previous session. The dollar rose to 120.13 yen from 120.06 yen.