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World stock markets buoyed by hopes for eurozone debt crisis resolution
MILAN (AP) ' World markets rose Monday as European leaders worked their way toward a long-awaited plan to fight the continent's 2-year-old debt crisis and China and Japan posted strong economic data.
European leaders failed to make tough decisions over the weekend, but pledged to unveil concrete plans by Wednesday. They are likely to include measures to recapitalize the region's banks, which are expected to accept steep losses on Greek debt, as well as boosting the eurozone bailout fund.
"All eyes are very much on European leaders' attempts to find a workable solution to the ongoing debt crisis," said Stan Shamu of IG Markets. He noted "encouraging signs of progress emerging over the weekend" helped boost early trading in stock markets."
Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi ' who received stern words from the French and German leaders over the weekend ' has convened his Cabinet to come up with a package of plausible growth measures by Wednesday, as demanded by EU leaders. Italy is seen as the next likely victim in the debt crisis, but the third largest eurozone economy would be too expensive to bail out.
Confidence-building measures will be sorely needed as European economic indicators continue to point downwards.
A key survey on Monday showed that activity in the eurozone's private sector fell more than expected in October. Momentum in both manufacturing and services continued to weaken, with the so-called purchasing managers' index falling to 47.3 and 47.2 respectively. A figure below 50 denotes contraction.
Economists said it showed that overall economic contraction was possible in the eurozone in the fourth quarter, but traders largely overlooked the report to focus on the likelihood that a European crisis plan would be ready by another leaders' summit on Wednesday.
Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.5 percent to 5,518.15 and Germany's DAX added 0.8 percent to 6,018.27. France's CAC-40 gained 0.3 percent to 3,179.16.
Wall Street was headed for another day of gains, with Dow Jones industrial average futures up 0.2 percent at 11,783 and S&P 500 futures rising 0.3 percent to 1,238.30.
Investor sentiment remains fragile, however, according to analysts at Credit Agricole CIB.
"Markets will remain nervous ahead of Wednesday's EU summit, hoping that officials can settle their differences and emerge with a concrete solution. In this respect, the risk of disappointment is high," the analysts told clients in a research note on Monday.
Asian shares closed with solid gains earlier in the day as economic data from Japan and China showed a measure of strength.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index added 1.9 percent to close at 8,843.98 after the government said exports grew for a second straight month in September. The country's trade suffered a five-month decline in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeast Japan.
Mainland Chinese shares rose after HSBC said its preliminary China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index, which measures industrial production, rose to 51.1 in October from 49.9 in September. A result above 50 indicates expansion but the preliminary indicator is often subject to substantial revision.
In currencies, the euro rose to $1.3867 from $1.3864 Friday in New York. The dollar rose to 76.17 yen from 76.12 yen.
Benchmark crude for December delivery was up 45 cents at $87.85 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.33 to settle at $87.40 in New York on Friday.
Brent crude was up 58 cents at $110.14 a barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange in London.
Pamela Sampson contributed from Bangkok.