Global Stocks Up Ahead of US Job Data

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Global stock markets rallied Friday as investor sentiment was boosted by signs of continued improvement in the U.S. job market.

KEEPING SCORE: European stocks opened higher with Britain's FTSE 100 up 0.3 percent to 7,566.33. France's CAC 40 advanced 0.9 percent to 5,366.62 and Germany's DAX jumped 1.2 percent to 12,819.53. Futures augured modest gains on Wall Street. Dow futures rose 0.3 percent and S&P futures added 0.2 percent.

US ECONOMY: On Thursday, U.S. payroll processor ADP said it found in a private survey of companies that 253,000 jobs were added in May. The result was significantly higher than expected and lifted investor sentiment before the U.S. government releases more comprehensive jobs report later on Friday. In addition to how many jobs U.S. added last month, analysts are also keen to see how much average hourly earnings grew.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "U.S. data has given the equity bulls some inspiration," Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG in Melbourne, Australia, said in a daily commentary. He added "it gives us hope at least that tonight's non-farm payrolls will be close enough to the consensus print."

KOREA GROWTH: Bank of Korea said its updated reading of the South Korean economy showed that Asia's fourth-largest economy expanded 1.1 percent during the January-March period on a quarterly basis, revised up from 0.9 percent released in April. That was the strongest rate in six quarters and solidified expectation that the central bank would revise up its annual growth outlook next month. Exports and the construction sector led the recovery.

ASIA'S DAY: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 jumped 1.6 percent to close at 20,177.28, the highest level since August, 2015, as the yen weakened. It was the first time since December 2015 that Tokyo's Nikkei benchmark index finished above the 20,000 level. South Korea's Kospi soared 1.2 percent to finish at 2,371.72, its record high. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 0.4 percent to 25,924.05. Australia's S&P/ASX advanced 0.9 percent to 5,788.10 while Shanghai Composite Index added 0.1 percent to 3,105.54. Stocks in Taiwan, Singapore and other Southeast Asian countries were higher.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell $1.31 at $47.04 per barrel in electronic trading on New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 4 cents to settle at $48.36 per barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, sank $1.45 at $49.19 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 111.52 yen from 111.35 yen while the euro strengthened slightly to $1.1223 from $1.1216.