05/29/2012 01:57 EDT | Updated 07/28/2012 05:12 EDT

World stock markets higher despite Spanish bank worries as traders anticipate China stimulus

BANGKOK - World stock markets moved higher after a choppy start Tuesday as hopes for new measures to boost China's economy outweighed worries about the health of Spanish banks and their potential to worsen Europe's debt crisis.

Concerns about Spain's banks have grown since Bankia, the country's fourth-largest lender, said Friday it needed €19 billion ($23.8 billion) in state aid to shore itself up against bad loans — largely from real estate gone sour.

That magnified fears of a possible debt implosion in Europe's weaker economies — starting with Greece, which will run out of money in the coming days without an emergency loan.

But analysts said investors were emboldened to scoop up oversold shares because of hopes that China is on the verge of more steps to shore up its fatigued economy. That helped Asian stock markets close higher and gave an early push to European shares and U.S. futures.

Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.3 per cent to 5,369.83. Germany's DAX added 0.6 per cent to 6,360.60 and the CAC-40 in Paris gained 0.3 per cent to 3,052.81.

Wall Street was headed for a higher open after a three-day holiday weekend. Dow Jones industrial futures rose 0.7 per cent to 12,515 and S&P 500 futures added 0.8 per cent to 1,324.80.

Stan Shamu, market strategist at IG Markets in Melbourne, said there are increasing expectations that China will relax monetary policy and announce fiscal stimulus measures. It has already made piecemeal announcements about spending and investment measures.

"This has been a predominant theme since Premier Wen Jiabao's comments showing commitment to keep China's growth from stalling," he said.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.7 per cent to close at 8,657.08 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 1.4 per cent to 19,055.46.

South Korea's Kospi climbed 1.4 per cent to 1,849.91 after being closed Monday for a public holiday. China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index jumped 1.2 per cent to 2,389.64.

Negative sentiment was also slightly assuaged by recent polls suggested an upcoming election in Greece might result in a government willing to stick to a highly unpopular austerity program.

Sticking to its austerity commitments will enable Greece to qualify for an urgently needed international bailout to avoid defaulting on its massive debts and remain in the euro currency union.

Among individual stocks, Chinese automaker BYD Co. rebounded 5.5 per cent after tumbling the day before on reports that one of its electric taxis burst into flames after being hit by a sports car, killing three. The speeding car rear-ended one of BYD's 300 e6 taxis in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, raising fears about the safety of electric cars.

Steve Man, an auto analyst at Nomura in Hong Kong, said it appeared to be an isolated incident because the electric taxis have been running mostly without problems since they hit the streets of Shenzhen about two years ago.

Japan's Renesas Electronics Corp. plunged 16.4 per cent amid speculation it will announce massive job cuts as its business struggles. The semiconductor maker Monday announced a deal to work with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to produce chips in an effort to cut costs.

Later Tuesday, traders will digest monthly data on German inflation and U.S. consumer confidence.

Benchmark oil for July delivery was up 82 cents to $91.68 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 20 cents at $90.86 on Friday, the last day it settled in New York.

In currencies, the euro rose to $1.2555 from $1.2518 late Friday in New York. The dollar fell to 79.50 yen from 79.66 yen.


AP researcher Fu Ting contributed from Shanghai.