World Stocks Mostly Rise; Oil Up

HONG KONG — World stock markets mostly rose Tuesday as a strengthening Chinese currency and hopes for more central bank stimulus gave investors relief from the mauling that markets have suffered so far this year.

Oil prices tracked higher after major producers including Russia and Saudi Arabia said they were willing to freeze output if other countries agree.

KEEPING SCORE: France’s CAC 40 climbed 0.4 percent to 4,133.20 and Britain’s FTSE 100 added 0.5 percent to 5,853.99. Germany’s DAX dipped 0.4 percent to 9,161.91. U.S. benchmarks were poised to open sharply higher after a long weekend. Dow futures rallied 1.3 percent and broader S&P 500 futures jumped 1.4 percent.

STIMULUS HOPES: Investor sentiment remained positive that central banks would continue to ease monetary policy thanks to comments from the head of the European Central Bank. With the ECB set to discuss policy measures on March 10, Mario Draghi told the European Parliament on Monday that the bank has a range of instruments it can deploy if it decides more stimulus is needed. Earlier, a disappointing report on Japanese economic growth also raised hopes for more policy easing.

YUAN RELIEF: China’s strengthening currency also helped boost sentiment. The yuan hovered near its strongest level so far this year a day after the central bank guided the currency, also known as the renminbi, sharply higher. Previous weakness in the yuan triggered worries the Chinese economy was in worse shape than thought. Meanwhile, new yuan loans jumped 71 percent in January, the official Xinhua news agency reported Tuesday, suggesting solid demand in the world’s No. 2 economy.

ANALYST’S TAKE: “Since the start of January everything went south and we really needed some positive news,” said Jackson Wong, associate director at Huarong International Securities. “Factors that were affecting the markets negatively have turned positive now: the yen is weaker, the renminbi is stronger, global markets like the U.S. are stabilizing. All the negative catalysts from January are turning better.”

OIL TALK: Energy prices jumped early in the day after Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Venezuela held an unannounced meeting on production. The nations said they agreed to freeze output, but only if other producing nations do so, too. Analysts say Iran is unlikely to agree to that, as it looks to ramp up production following its period of sanctions. Benchmark U.S. crude was up 62 cents at $30.06 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $3.23 on Friday and had opened even higher. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, added 65 to $34.66 a barrel in London.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 added 0.2 percent to close at 16,054.43 after soaring 7.2 percent the day before, which was its biggest daily gain since September. South Korea’s Kospi rose 1.4 percent to 1,888.30 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 1.1 percent to 19,122.08. The Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China surged 3.3 percent to 2,836.57 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was up 1.4 percent to 4,910.00. Benchmarks in Taiwan and most of Southeast Asia also rose.

CURRENCIES: The dollar eased to 113.87 yen from 114.54 yen in Monday’s trading. The euro was roughly flat at $1.1165.


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