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Global stocks rise on China growth relief, dollar up vs yen

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January 20
9:19 AM 2015

Shares rose on Tuesday and the dollar gained 1 percent against the yen after China said its economy had not slowed as much as many in markets had feared.

Expectations the European Central Bank would announce later this week plans to inject more stimulus into the euro zoneeconomy also helped lift European shares to a seven-year high and buoyed investor appetite for risk.

Stock index futures pointed to a positive start on Wall Street, reopening after a holiday on Monday.

However, the International Monetary Fund cut its forecast for global growth in 2015 by three-tenths of a percent to 3.5 percent and called on governments and central banks to pursue accommodative monetary policies and reforms.

Oil prices steadied after an initial dip on prospects of weaker demand in China, the world's second-largest economy.

China's economy grew 7.4 percent in 2014, just missing official forecasts of 7.5 percent, its slowest growth in 24 years. But fourth-quarter expansion held steady at 7.3 percent, marginally better than expected.

"A slowdown in China seems to be at a very moderate and controlled pace and that's positive for the market," Ronny Claeys, senior strategist at KBC Asset Management in Brussels, said.

A slew of Chinese data, which also showed factory output and retail sales beating forecasts in December, lifted Asian shares.

The Shanghai Composite index rose 1.85 percent and the CSI300 closed up 1.22 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 index saw its biggest one-day gain in a month, ending up 2.1 percent. MSCI's main index for Asian shares, excluding Japan,, was up 0.4 percent.

European shares rose, also boosted by expectations the ECB would launch as soon as Thursday a program of money-printing through purchases of government bonds in a bid to fight off deflation and kick-start growth.

"I don't think Draghi will disappoint on Thursday. The central bank's credibility is at stake, and this will be a crucial moment for the ECB," said Alain Bokobza, head of strategy, global asset allocation at Societe Generale.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 1.2 percent, at its highest since January 2008.

The dollar rose 1 percent against the safe-haven yen to 118.745 yen, and the euro was down 0.2 percent at $1.1584. In anticipation of looser ECB policy, the euro hit an 11-year low of $1.1459 on Friday.

Ahead of the ECB meeting, yields on euro zone government bonds have touched a series of record lows. Most yields held near those lows on Tuesday, with the market awaiting a sale of 10-year Spanish debt via syndication.

Indications of investor interest topped 10 billion euros, IFR, a Thomson Reuters news and market analysis service, reported.

In emerging markets, shares measured by MSCI rose 0.7 percent. Turkey cut its main interest rate by 50 basis points to 7.75 percent in response to slowing inflation. The lira firmed to 2.3290 to the dollar after 2.3405 beforehand.

Brent crude oil rose above $49 a barrel. The benchmark price has lost some 60 percent since June.

Concerns about global economic growth kept gold near a four-month high. Spot gold was last at $1,289.30 an ounce, pulling back from $1,294.18, its highest since late August.

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