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World markets rise as US economy improves

The Associated Press

Global stock markets rose on Monday as signs of U.S. economic recovery offset concerns that the Federal Reserve may reduce its monetary stimulus this month.

The U.S. on Friday reported a fourth straight month of job gains, with 203,000 new jobs created in November. The unemployment rate fell to 7.0 percent from 7.3 percent. The strengthening job market focused investors on the improving economy instead of concerns about a possible reduction in the Fed's stimulus at its Dec. 17-18 policy meeting.

A run of strong economic data last week had already bolstered belief among investors that the Fed would back a so-called tapering of its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases as early as this month. But unlike earlier this year, when fears of the stimulus withdrawal had caused jitters in the markets, the investors are focusing more on the improvements in the economy.

"Fears over tapering were outweighed by concrete signs of recovery," wrote Mitul Kotecha, an analyst at Credit Agricole CIB, in a note to clients.

In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.1 percent to close at 6,559.48 while Germany's DAX gained 0.3 percent to 9,195.17. The CAC-40 in France added 0.1 percent to 4,134.10.

On Wall Street, the Dow was up 0.1 percent at 16,030.53 while the S&P 500 rose 0.2 percent to 1,808.65.

Improvement in the U.S. economy, which is the world's largest, could be a boon for export-reliant Asian nations.

Japan's Nikkei 225 surged 2.3 percent to 15,650.21 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.3 percent at 23,811.17. Benchmarks in mainland China, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia also rose.

India's Sensex jumped 1.7 percent to a record high after sweeping victories for India's pro-business opposition party in state elections suggested it will win national polls in May.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 bucked the trend and dropped 0.8 percent to 5,144.40.

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