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World stocks rise as Japan data mends, yuan's new status welcomed

TOKYO – World stock markets were mostly higher after improved Japanese data and as IMF inclusion of the yuan in its basket of major currencies raised confidence in China’s progress toward financial liberalization.

KEEPING SCORE: Germany’s DAX fell 0.2 per cent to 11,363.94 and France’s CAC 40 edged 0.1 per cent lower to 4,952.42. Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.5 per cent to 6,389.29. Wall Street appeared poised for a move back into positive territory. Dow futures were up 0.3 per cent at 17,770 and S&P 500 futures added 0.3 per cent to 2,085.90.

CHINA CURRENCY: The inclusion of the yuan with the dollar, pound, euro and yen in the IMF’s yardstick basket reflects the rising importance of China’s economy and its currency. IMF chief Christine Lagarde called it an “important milestone.” The decision was based on the volume of exports involving the yuan and its use in the financial markets, among other factors. The yuan stayed in a narrow range on Tuesday.

THE QUOTE: The yuan’s “inclusion is unlikely to have great impact on short-term demand” for the currency, said IG market strategist Bernard Aw in a report. “What’s more important is perhaps the boost to President Xi’s efforts to liberalize China’s financial markets.”

EUROPEAN STIMULUS: Investors are counting on fresh economic stimulus from the European Central Bank when its governing council meets this week. ECB head Mario Draghi has signalled the regional bank could expand the ECB’s bond-buying program or cut interest rates.

JAPAN DATA: Japanese shares rose above the psychological benchmark of 20,000 pm news that the monthly Nikkei survey of factory purchasing managers rose to 52.6 in November, the highest reading in 20 months and up from 52.4 in October. The index is based on a 100-point scale, with the 50-point mark separating expansion from contraction. Meanwhile, a survey on factory investment showed a higher than expected 5.4 per cent rise in July-September from the previous quarter.

CHINA MANUFACTURING: An official survey showed Chinese manufacturing at its weakest in more than three years in November, though service industries improved. The manufacturing index based on a survey of factory purchasing managers slipped to 49.6 in November from 49.8 the previous month.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 1.3 per cent to 20,012.40 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 1.8 per cent to 22,381.35. South Korea’s Kospi rose 1.6 per cent to 2,023.93 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 1.9 per cent to 5,266.10. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.3 per cent to 3,456.31. Markets in Southeast Asia also gained.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 33 cents to $41.99 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 6 cents on Monday to $41.65 a barrel. Brent crude, which is a benchmark for prices of international oils, gained 16 cents to $44.77 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The U.S. dollar slipped to 122.99 yen from 123.25 yen on Monday. The euro rose to $1.0611 from $1.0569.

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