London » Upbeat U.S. economic figures shored up global markets Monday even though there are growing expectations that the Federal Reserve could begin to reduce its monetary stimulus next month. Shares in the Philippines fell after a devastating typhoon.
Last week, a round of U.S. economic data, including Friday’s better-than-expected nonfarm payrolls report, ratcheted up expectations that the Fed will soon start "tapering" its $85 billion worth of asset purchases.
Some analysts think that the positive response in markets may indicate that the fear of the tapering — dominant for much of this year — has reduced and investors are now more willing to view strong economic news as a reason to buy stocks. After all, a growing U.S. economy will help corporate profits.
"Equities are not selling off as they have previously," said Craig Erlam, market analyst at Alpari. "Maybe the ‘good news is bad news’ scenario is finally becoming a thing of the past."
Following strong gains in much of Asia outside the typhoon-stricken Philippines, trading in Europe was solid. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.2 percent at 6,722 while Germany’s DAX rose the same rate to 9,099. The CAC-40 in France was 0.3 percent higher at 4,275.
Wall Street was set for a solid opening, with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures 0.1 percent higher. However, trading is expected to be light as much of the country is on holiday for Veteran’s Day — bond markets are closed, for example.
Earlier, in Asia, the focus was on the Philippines after a typhoon devastated the eastern Philippines, killing thousands of people. Manila’s main exchange, the PSE Composite, dropped 1.4 percent to 6,265.23 as the country grappled with the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. Authorities estimated that up to 10,000 people may have died. But the government, stunned by the scale of the disaster, has not given an official death toll yet.
Elsewhere, investors were also waiting to see if China’s communist leaders, who started a four-day meeting in Beijing on Saturday, would announce reform plans to bolster the world’s No. 2 economy as it comes under pressure from industrial overcapacity, high debt and surging house prices.
China’s Shanghai Composite rebounded from earlier losses to gain 0.2 percent at 2,109.47. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.3 percent to 14,269.34 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1.4 percent to 23,059.98 However, Seoul’s Kospi dropped 0.4 percent to 1,977.30 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.3 percent to 5,387.10.
Trading was lackluster in other financial markets. Among currencies, the euro was up 0.3 percent at $1.3395 while the dollar fell 0.1 percent to 99.15 yen.
In commodities, the benchmark New York rate for crude oil was down 30 cents at $94.30 a barrel.
Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia contributed to this report.
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