Millennium Post

World stocks push past China, Italy growth worries

Singapore: World markets rose on Monday, brushing off lagging Chinese growth and a downgrade in Italy's credit rating after its lawmakers approved a budget plan with room for a higher deficit.

Germany's DAX added 0.5 per cent to 11,612.90 and France's CAC-40 was 0.2 per cent higher at 5,096.74. Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.4 per cent to 7,078.68. On Wall Street, the future contract for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.2 percent at 25,485.00. Standard & Poor's 500 futures edged 0.2 percent higher to 2,772.00.

The Shanghai Composite index jumped 4.1 per cent to 2,654.88 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong surged 2.3 per cent to 26,153.15. Japan's Nikkei 225 index reversed early losses, gaining 0.4 per cent to 22,614.82 and the Kospi in South Korea added 0.3 per cent to 2,161.71. Australia's S&P-ASX 200 countered the trend, shedding 0.6 per cent to 5,904.90. Shares rose in Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia but fell in Thailand.

Investors appeared to take heart from reassurances from Chinese officials over slowing economic growth. Gains might also have been driven by the expectation that weak GDP data could spur further stimulus. Song Seng Wun, an economist at CIMB Private Banking, noticed that state-linked funds were also buying into weakening markets. "Some investors are bargain hunting on the basis that there will be limited downsides," he added.

Italian lawmakers passed a draft budget that could raise the country's deficit to as much as 2.4 percent of gross domestic product. That's three times higher than promised by the previous government. In response, international credit rating agency Moody's downgraded Italy's ratings to Baa3, while keeping its outlook stable.

The agency said there was a "material weakening in Italy's fiscal strength."

The European Union has expressed concerned that the Italy's plans would worsen its debt. But a sharp narrowing in Italian bond yields, especially long-term ones, is lifting stock markets. Italy's benchmark FTSE MIB added 0.6 percent to 19,186.91.

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