Chinese data supports shares but gains capped by Europe

Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:44am EDT
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By Richard Hubbard

LONDON (Reuters) - European shares hovered near a one-month high and Asian stocks jumped on Thursday, as a slew of Chinese data brightened the outlook for the world economy.

The more stable growth figures for China, coupled with recent good news from the United States on jobs and housing activity, have convinced many investors that a slowdown in world economic activity has at least bottomed out.

"There's definitely been a shift in investor sentiment towards the positive," said Richard Hunter, head of UK equities at Hargreaves Lansdown.

But the better mood is being held in check by worries about progress in Europe on measures to tackle the region's three-year-old debt crisis, as leaders from the 27-nation European Union gathered in Brussels for a two-day summit.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top European shares was barely changed at around 1,117 points at the midsession but remained close to its best levels for nearly a month.

The same was true of London's FTSE 100 .FTSE, the French CAC-40 .FCHI and Frankfurt's DAX .GDAXI, which were oscillating between slight gains and losses.

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a similarly mixed outlook for Wall Street, where the better economic outlook is being offset by weaker corporate earnings resulting from the flagging growth seen in the last quarter. .N

Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS finished the day with gains of 0.5 percent, however, their third consecutive daily rise, to stand at a seven-month high.   Continued...

Traders work at their desks at Frankfurt's stock exchange August 8, 2011. REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski