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World stock markets advanced Monday, bolstered by improved U.S. retail sales and Europe's renewed efforts to contain its debt crisis.

European indexes kicked off the trading week by tracking their Asian counterparts higher. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 1.4 percent at 5,540.44. Germany's DAX rose 1.7 percent to 6,070.98 and France's CAC 40 added 1.4 percent to 3,261.39.

The rally will likely extend to Wall Street later in the day. Dow futures were up 0.7 percent at 11,642. Futures for the broader Standard & Poor's were pointing up 0.8 percent at 1,229.10.

Sentiment brightened in Asia after stronger retail sales data in the U.S., leading to gains on Wall Street before the weekend.

Retail sales, which are a key barometer of consumer spending, recorded the biggest gain in seven months in September and double what economists were expecting. The data added to signs that the world's biggest economy may avoid another recession.

Worries about Europe's debt problems also eased following a meeting of Group of 20 finance chiefs over the weekend in Paris.

The group opened the door for the International Monetary Fund to play a bigger role in fighting the escalating debt troubles among countries that use the euro common currency. It also said eurozone ministers will "decisively address the current challenges through a comprehensive plan" to be unveiled on Oct. 23.

The progress has encouraged markets since last week, when German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy met ahead of the G-20 and promised to strengthen European banks.

"Markets are starting to see an exit from Europe's debt problems," said Fumiyuki Nakanishi, general manager at SMBC Friend Securities in Tokyo. "Day by day, stocks are climbing."

Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average finished up 1.5 percent at 8,879.60, hitting a six-week intraday high at one point.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 2 percent to 18,873.99, South Korea's Kospi rose 1.6 percent to 1,865.18 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 climbed 1.7 percent to 4,275.40. China's Shanghai Composite Index added 0.4 percent to 2,440.40.

In currencies, the euro rose to $1.3896 from $1.3875. The dollar gained to 77.39 yen from 77.22 late Friday.

With the dollar holding above the 77-yen line, investors sent Japanese exporters higher. Sony Corp. surged 5 percent, while Toyota Motor Corp. added 2.9 percent.

Missing out on the rally was camera and precision instruments maker Olympus Corp., which plunged after firing its British CEO on Friday after just six months.

The issue tumbled 24 percent, following a double-digit slide before the weekend. Several ratings agencies issued downgrades, while media reports said Michael Woodford was dismissed after challenging Olympus executives about questionable corporate governance practices and several acquisitions before he arrived.

Resource shares rose across the region, with Australia's BHP Billiton Ltd. up 2.1 percent on reports that the miner is considering acquisitions in the U.S. and Brazil.

Rival Rio Tinto added 2.4 percent amid news that it plans to sell 13 aluminum businesses, including smelters and refineries in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the U.S.

In Hong Kong, clothing retailer Esprit Holdings Ltd. rose almost 8 percent after a report that it plans to sell its U.S. stores.

Benchmark oil for November delivery was up $1.11 at $87.91 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $2.57 to settle at $86.80 in New York on Friday.

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