Shares gain in Europe on strong German trade data

Japan Financial Markets
Men walk past an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo, Tuesday, May 9, 2017. Shares were mixed in Asia on Tuesday after record highs on Wall Street overnight. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

TOKYO/May 9, 2017 (AP)(STL.News) — Shares were higher in early European trading Tuesday, lifted by strong German trade data, after a mixed day in Asia. Investors are looking ahead to the reform agenda of the newly elected French president and strong earnings in the U.S.

KEEPING SCORE: Germany’s DAX gained 0.5 percent to 12,760.85 and the CAC40 of France added 0.4 percent to 5,404.86. Britain’s FTSE 100 also added 0.5 percent to 7,337.78. U.S. markets also were poised for gains, with Dow futures up 0.1 percent and S&P 500 futures up 0.04 percent.

GERMAN TRADE GAINS: Germany’s exports and imports rose to monthly records in March, as the trade surplus of Europe’s biggest economy rose to 25.8 billion euros. That upbeat data adds to evidence of growing strength: the unemployment rate dropped to 5.8 percent in April as domestic demand has picked up along with exports.

FRENCH AGENDA: Newly elected Emmanuel Macron, a 39-year-old former investment banker, is an ardent supporter of the European Union and advocate of a free market and entrepreneurship. The economy is among a slew of priorities he must tackle as France’s youngest president after he takes office on Sunday.

SOUTH KOREA ELECTION: South Korea’s markets were closed Tuesday for the presidential election. On Monday, the benchmark Kospi rallied 2.3 percent on expectations the vote will help ease uncertainties surrounding an influence peddling scandal that led to former President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment. While the policy stances of the leading candidates are similar, “the filling of the political vacuum could go a long way to benefiting the economy,” Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index edged 0.3 percent lower to 19,843.00 and Australia’s S&P ASX 200 lost 0.5 percent to 5,839.90. The Shanghai Composite index made up for early losses, gaining 0.1 percent to 3,080.53 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 1.3 percent to 24,889.03. Shares in Taiwan and Southeast Asia were mostly lower.

CURRENCIES: The euro fell to $1.0903 from $1.0925 on Monday. The dollar rose to 113.74 Japanese yen from 113.25 yen. The British pound slipped to $1.2925 from $1.2939.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude was steady at $46.43 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 5 cents to $49.39 a barrel.

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ELAINE KURTENBACH, AP Business Writer

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