Global Stocks Advance Ahead of US Economic Data

SINGAPORE (AP) -- Global stock markets were higher Thursday on expectations of positive economic data from the U.S.

Analysts expect the advance data to show the world's largest economy growing at an 8.5% annual pace in the second quarter.

That follows the Federal Reserve's decision to keep its accommodative monetary policies intact, while signaling Wednesday that the U.S. economic recovery was on track.

France's CAC 40 added 0.7% to 6,657.53 and Germany's DAX gained 0.2% to 15,597.87. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.7% to 7,066.91.

U.S. markets were set for a muted opening. The future for the S&P 500 rose 0.2% to 4,400.25, while that for the Dow industrials climbed 0.4% to 34,955.00.

The forecasts for second quarter U.S. growth, while "mightily impressive" are "quite backward-looking, given it is nearly August and will lose some of its zeal," Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a report.

Gains were seen across Asia. Chinese technology giants led the way as authorities moved to soothe jitters over stricter anti-monopoly and data security enforcement of the industry.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 gained 0.7% to 27,782.42, while the Kospi in South Korea advanced 0.2% to 3,242.65. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong jumped 3.3% to 26,315.32.

The Shanghai Composite Index rebounded 1.5% to 3,411.72 after three days of declines. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 added 0.5% to 7,417.40. Southeast Asian markets rose.

Games and social media giant Tencent Holding Ltd. surged 10% in Hong Kong. Internet search giant Baidu Inc. was up 7.5% in the territory, while e-commerce giant Alibaba Group gained 7.7%.

Chinese Internet shares slid earlier this week on reports that Beijing was considering restrictions on for-profit education ventures.

The China Securities and Regulatory Commission's meeting with top investment bankers on Wednesday night "appears to have calmed the most frazzled of nerves," said Venkateswaran Lavanya of Mizuho Bank.

"But this does not put wider Chinese regulatory risks to bed. For one, claims of a targeted clampdown on the $100 billion private tuition industry does not address, certainly not denounce, ongoing regulatory tightening in tech and property," she said.

Meanwhile, investors are awaiting a quarterly earnings report from Amazon. While the company is expected to outperform, an indication of slowing future sales growth could dampen sentiments.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 45 cents to $72.84 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It picked up 74 cents to $72.39 on Wednesday. Brent crude oil, the basis for international oil prices, added 36 cents to $74.23.

The dollar slid to 109.83 Japanese yen from 109.91 yen on Thursday. The euro advanced to $1.1873 from $1.1847.