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World stocks up as Europe announces new debt steps
World stocks rise after Europe announces action to curb region's debt woes
By The Associated Press

BANGKOK (AP) ' Investors waded into stocks Thursday, heartened by new efforts by European leaders to strengthen their continent's banks and deal with Greece's massive debts.

Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.2 percent to 5,452.58 and Germany's DAX was up 0.6 percent to 6,031.98. France's CAC 40 gained 0.2 percent to 3,237.49. Wall Street was set to rise with Dow futures up 0.4 percent at 11,465.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index climbed 1 percent to 8,823.25. Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 2.3 percent to 18,757.81 and South Korea's Kospi index rose 0.8 percent to 1,823.10.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 1 percent to 4,244.50. The Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.8 percent to 2,438.79.

On Wednesday, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called for European banks to raise billions in new capital and for a stricter accounting of their exposure to sovereign debt. Barroso also called for a permanent bailout fund to come into force by mid-2012, one year ahead of schedule.

Barroso's proposals for helping Europe's struggling banks fueled investor appetite for riskier assets like stocks, analysts said.

"Risk appetite improved, bank stocks rallied ... after EC President Jose Barroso pledged for urgent recapitalizing of European banks," Credit Agricole CIB said in a research note.

Investors also shrugged off Slovakia's rejection Tuesday of a measure to strengthen Europe's bailout fund, focusing hopes that a solution would be found before a summit of EU leaders next week.

In the U.S., meanwhile, companies have begun to release their third-quarter earnings reports, and so far the results have been mixed.

The results "will be crucial" to determining the direction of stock markets over the coming days, Credit Agricole said.

PepsiCo Inc. rose 2.9 percent after the company said its income rose because of stronger sales of snacks and beverages, especially overseas. But Alcoa Inc. dropped 2.4 percent after the aluminum maker reported earnings that were weaker than analysts expected.

The Dow rose 0.9 percent to close at 11,518.85. The S&P 500 rose 1 percent to 1,207.25. The Nasdaq composite index rose 21.70, or 0.8 percent, to 2,604.73.

Benchmark oil for November delivery was down 32 cents to $85.23 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 24 cents to end at $85.57 per barrel on the Nymex on Wednesday.

In currencies, the euro slipped to $1.3776 from $1.3793 late Tuesday in New York. The dollar dropped to 77.18 yen from 77.30 yen.

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