Market Buzz: Small gains expected worldwide as positive signs emerge

Market Buzz: Small gains expected worldwide as positive signs emerge
Russian indices are expected to make slight gains on Friday after macroeconomic data from the US and China inspired investors the previous day.

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“[The] Friday trading session in Russia is most likely to show a mild growth. Given positive dynamics in Asian floors and a close of US trading in the ‘green zone,’ one could expect Russian markets to open in the black, with falling oil prices still pressing the indices,” Darya Pichugina of Investcafe wrote in an email.

On Thursday, both key Russian indices finished trading in positive territory. The RTS rose 0.91% to 1,585.44 and the MICEX was up 0.59% to 1,523.74. This upbeat sentiment came mostly on the back of positive statistics from the US, Pichugina added.

Despite the upbeat macroeconomic data from China and the US, as well the military conflict currently raging in north Africa, oil prices are declining: Brent lost 0.14% and the WTI dropped 0.32%, Pichugina said.

China reported better-than-expected economic growth for Q4 2012, with its GDP rising 7.9% during the period compared to a 7.4% growth in the previous quarter.

The number of new homes being built in the US in December rose sharply, according to official figures. Investors were also cheered by good news in the job market, where first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell to a five-year low last week. The declining number of unemployment claims sowed hopes that the world’s largest economy is gaining traction, CNN Money reported, quoting Chief Market Strategist Doug Roberts of Channel Capital Research.

Corporate earnings in the US offered a mixed picture, with Bank of America posting quarterly earnings slightly better that analysts had expected, while Citigroup fell short of expectations.

Asian markets have generally risen today, with Japanese shares leading the region. The Nikkei 225 is up 2.46%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.75% and China's Shanghai Composite went up 0.56%.

The Dow Jones, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq all rose more than 0.6%, with the S&P 500 closing at a five-year high.

European markets finished higher on Thursday with shares in France leading the region. The CAC 40 is up 0.96%, while Germany's DAX is up 0.58% and London's FTSE 100 is up 0.46%.