Global shares up on China relief, Ukraine strains remain

Wed Apr 16, 2014 4:04am EDT
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By Marc Jones

LONDON (Reuters) - Share markets made broad gains on Wednesday after China reported economic growth a touch above forecasts, a relief for investors who had feared a much weaker outcome.

China's economy grew 7.4 percent in the first quarter, from a year earlier, pipping forecasts of 7.3 percent. That was welcome news to many given whisper numbers nearer 7 percent, following a string of soft numbers recently.

Other Chinese data for March was mixed, with industrial output a shade under estimates but retail sales picking up.

The relief rippled through Asian markets, with Japan's Nikkei ending up 3 percent - its biggest gain since February. Hopes of more Bank of Japan stimulus also helped.

Bullish sentiment spread to Europe with the FTSE 100 and DAX opening up 0.8 and 0.9 percent respectively and France's CAC 40 1.2 percent higher.

Italy and Spain also rallied, with both up more than 1 percent as they clawed back some of the 6-7 percent they have given up over the last week.

"It (rises in European stocks) is just ripples continuing on from Asia," Rabobank emerging market economist Christian Lawrence said.

"China is still on a downward path on growth but clearly the market took some relief in that number ... our basic view is that it will be a gradual slowdown rather than a hard landing."   Continued...

An employee of a foreign exchange trading company works behind monitors in Tokyo November 28, 2013. REUTERS/Toru Hanai