World stock markets mixed as U.S. data reinforces view Fed to reduce stimulus

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Global stock markets were mixed at the start of the week after unexpectedly strong U.S. economic growth and hiring reinforced expectations that the Federal Reserve will start cutting back stimulus soon. Stocks in Manila sank after a typhoon devastated the eastern Philippines, killing thousands of people.

Investors were also waiting to see if China’s communist leaders, who started a four-day meeting in Beijing on Saturday, would announce reform plans to bolster the world’s No. 2 economy as it comes under pressure from industrial overcapacity, high debt and surging house prices.

In Europe, Germany’s DAX was flat at 9,078.28 and the France’s CAC-40 rose 0.2 per cent to 4,267.24. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 0.1 per cent higher at 6,716.08.

Dow Jones and S&P 500 futures were little changed.

U.S government figures on Friday showed the country generated 204,000 jobs in October, way ahead of market expectations for a more modest increase of 125,000. And the world’s biggest economy grew 2.8 per cent in the third quarter, nearly a percentage point higher than expected.

The data made it more likely the Fed will soon being reducing its $85 billion of monthly bond purchases that have kept interest rates low to spur economic recovery but also sent a wall of money into stock markets.

“The U.S. economy remains resilient” so reduction of the Fed’s monetary stimulus remains on the table, Mizuho Bank in Singapore said in a market commentary.

But DBS Vickers in Hong Kong said odds that the Fed will cut its stimulus as early as December or January still seem to be under 50 per cent. It said economic fundamentals still seemed weak, with consumption and business investment growth slowing.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.3 per cent to 14,269.34. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1.4 per cent to 23,059.98 while China’s Shanghai Composite rebounded from earlier losses to gain 0.2 per cent at 2,109.47.

However, Seoul’s Kospi dropped 0.4 per cent to 1,977.30 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.3 per cent to 5,387.10.

The PSE Composite in Manila sank 1.4 per cent to 6,265.23 as the country grappled with the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. Authorities estimated that up to 10,000 people may have died. But the government, stunned by the scale of the disaster, has not given an official death toll yet.

In energy trading, benchmark crude for December delivery was down 21 cents to $94.39 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 40 cents to close at $94.60 a barrel on Friday.

The euro rose to $1.3385 from $1.3352 late Friday. The dollar dropped to 99.09 yen from 99.21 yen.

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