Global stocks rise after China reports stronger exports

The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, November 28, 2018. REUTERS/Staff

BEIJING (AP) — Global stock prices rose Friday after China reported unexpectedly strong March exports despite tariff war with Washington.

Market benchmarks in London, Frankfurt, Tokyo and Hong Kong all advanced.

China reported exports rose 14.2% over a year earlier, rebounding from March’s 20.8% contraction in a sign of stronger global demand. Sales to the American market also accelerated despite President Donald Trump’s tariff increase.

In early trading, London’s FTSE 100 rose 0.3% to 7,437.49 and Frankfurt’s DAX added 0.1% to 11,946.30. France’s CAC 40 added 4 points to 5,489.78.

In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 was 0.7% higher at 21,870.56 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.2% to 29,909.70. The Shanghai Composite Index ended down 1 point at 3,188.63.

Seoul’s Kospi gained 0.4% to 2,233.45 while Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 advanced 0.8% to 6,251.30. India’s Sensex added 0.2% to 38,692.03. New Zealand gained while Taiwan and Southeast Asian markets retreated.

On Wall Street, the future for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up 0.3% and that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.4%.

ON Thursday, the S&P 500 added less than 0.1% while the Dow declined 0.1%. The Nasdaq composite slid 0.2%.

The U.S. market gave back some of the previous day’s gains after minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting showed the majority of officials want to keep interest rates unchanged. Investors want the central bank to take a more laid-back approach to avoid triggering a market slump.

Traders are focused on company earnings reports the next few weeks in hopes of gleaning fresh clues about the trajectory of the economy.

Analysts expect companies in the S&P 500 to report a 3.3% drop in earnings per share from a year earlier, which would be the first decline since the spring of 2016. The expected drop in profits is due almost entirely to weaker profit margins.

CHINA AUTO SALES: Auto sales in the global industry’s biggest market fell again in March, declining 6.9% from a year ago, but the contraction was smaller than in recent months. It was the ninth straight month of decline amid broader consumer malaise but an improvement over the 17.5% contraction in January and February. The slump comes at an awkward time as global and Chinese automakers spend heavily to develop electric vehicles under government pressure to boost sales.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 63 cents to $64.20 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract dropped $1.03 on Thursday to close at $63.58. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 57 cents to $71.40 per barrel in London. It fell 90 cents the previous session to $70.83.

CURRENCY: The dollar gained to 111.95 yen from Thursday’s 111.66 yen. The euro rose to $1.1308 from $1.1257.