Global stocks were mostly higher Monday after a report that China will change banking rules in an apparent effort to boost lending and economic growth, while oil prices rebounded.
KEEPING SCORE: France's CAC-40 gained 0.2 percent to 4,304.35, while Germany's DAX declined 0.3 percent to 9,891.62, as trading resumed following a four-day break for Christmas. Wall Street looked set for gains, with futures for the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index both up 0.1 percent. On Friday, the Dow added 0.1 percent, while the S&P rose 0.3 percent.
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ASIA'S DAY: Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 1.8 percent to 23,761.29 points and the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.3 percent to 3,168.02. India's Sensex rose 0.7 percent to 27,439.68. Sydney, Singapore and Manila also rose. South Korea's Kospi was off 1 percent at 1,927.86.
CHINESE BANKING: China's official Xinhua News Agency reported Sunday that regulators will change accounting rules for bank deposits to free up more money for lending. That could help to boost economic growth that slumped to a five-year low in the latest quarter. The report came after government data on Saturday showed profits for China's biggest industrial companies fell 4.2 percent in November from a year earlier, accelerating from the previous month's 2.1 percent decline. Stocks for China's state-owned banks rose on expectations of higher interest income from bigger lending.
ANALYST'S TAKE: "Asian equities are off to a great start to the week, with investors growing increasingly optimistic about China deploying stimulus. Chinese equities are leading the way, with solid gains for the Hang Seng and Shanghai Composite," strategist Stan Shamu of IG Markets said in a report.
RUBLE TROUBLES: Russia's currency fell 4 percent on Friday, breaking a five-day rally. Russian monetary officials have made stabilizing the currency a priority amid slumping oil revenues and unease about the country's economic outlook. Mizuho Bank warned in a report that this "may not be the end of the troubles" for the Russian economy.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 54 cents to $55.27 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Friday, the contract plunged $1.11 to settle at $54.73. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 51 cents to $59.96.
CURRENCY: The dollar rose to 120.49 yen from Friday's 120.35. The euro edged down to $1.21 from Friday's $1.22.