Asian Stock Markets Open Higher Friday

Posted August 11th, 2011 at 9:45 pm (UTC-5)
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Asian stock markets opened higher Friday, a day after key U.S. stock indexes rebounded with major gains.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei index was up about a half of one percent in early trading Friday, erasing some of Thursday's losses. Stock markets in Australia and New Zealand also showed early gains Friday.

The rebound came after U.S. and European stock markets rose sharply Thursday, rebounding from steep losses the previous day as buyers drew encouragement from a better-than-expected U.S. jobs report.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 4 percent, after plummeting almost five percent on Wednesday. The S&P 500 and the NASDAQ also closed higher Thursday.

Major indexes in London, Paris and Frankfurt closed up about three percent Thursday.

Thursday's closing numbers marked the latest in a series of global markets swings that saw markets plunge on Monday, rebound on Tuesday and slump again on Wednesday.

Analysts say stocks received a boost Thursday from a U.S. government report that said first-time claims for jobless benefits fell to a four-month low in the past week. Many investors interpreted that as good news for the U.S. economy, following an unprecedented downgrade of the U.S. sovereign debt rating last week. That downgrade triggered Monday's sell-off.

U.S. President Barack Obama said “wild swings” in stock markets were making many Americans nervous and affecting their savings. He attributed the volatility partly to factors beyond U.S. control, such as Europe's financial turmoil.

Mr. Obama also said partisan politics in Washington have hurt the U.S. ability to deal with such challenges.