World Stocks Climb on Upbeat Economic Data

Reuters

World stocks rose Friday and the euro rose from a six-week low against the dollar as upbeat German and French growth data and favorable European corporate earnings prompted investors to buy back risky assets.

Germany's economy grew by a stronger-than-expected 1.5 percent in the first quarter while the French economy grew faster than expected in the same period thanks to a strong pick-up in business investment, expanding 1.0 percent from the final quarter of 2010.

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Strong growth in the two major euro zone economies -- together they make up almost half of the region's output -- and strong results from EADS and Credit Agricole helped lift world stocks from Thursday's three-week low.

"We have got some very good figures out from Germany and that shows that the country's position is more prudent than some of its rivals," said Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

"The market continues to assess company results and anything positive is taken on board." The MSCI world equity index rose 0.4 percent while the Thomson Reuters global stock index gained 0.2 percent.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index added 0.4 percent. Airbus parent EADS rose 3.4 percent as the company saw its cash pile hit a record 12.2 billion euros ($17.32 billion) and posted higher-than-expected first-quarter earnings.

Emerging stocks rose 0.4 percent.

U.S. crude oil rose 0.9 percent to $99.85 after a volatile week saw prices fluctuate on both sides of the $100 mark.

"Overall, the market will remain volatile because of the swings we are seeing in the dollar," said Serene Lim, analyst at ANZ Bank in Singapore.

The dollar fell 0.3 percent against a basket of major currencies.

The euro rose 0.4 percent to $1.4293, moving away from a six-week low. Concerns that Greece may need additional aid to avoid a debt restructuring have helped the currency shed roughly 5 percent from a peak near $1.4940 hit in early May.

A Eurogroup meeting of euro zone finance ministers is due to be held Monday, followed Tuesday by an Ecofin meeting of European Union finance ministers.

The bund future fell 36 ticks.