China stimulus hopes, Wall St. rebound boost markets

BEIJING - World stock markets were mostly higher Monday after Wall Street rebounded and China's leaders promised to shore up slowing growth.

In early trading, France's CAC-40 rose 0.1 percent to 5,053.21 and Germany's DAX added 0.6 percent to 11,520.27. Futures augured a positive start on Wall Street. Dow futures rose 0.4 percent, and S&P 500 futures were up 0.3 percent. On Friday, the Dow rose 1 percent at the S&P gained 1.1 percent while the Nasdaq composite added 1.3 percent.

The Communist Party's Politburo met last week and promised "forceful" measures to support economic growth that slumped to 7 percent in the first quarter, its lowest level since the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. The party leadership called for boosting investment and streamlining the flow of money through the financial system. That came as surveys by HSBC Corp. and a Chinese industry group found April manufacturing activity was at or close to a 12-month low, hurt by weak domestic demand.

The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.9 percent to 4,480.46 and Seoul's Kospi rose 0.2 percent to 2,132.23. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was little changed at 28,123.82. Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.2 percent to 5,827.50. Manila and Jakarta also advanced. Singapore and New Zealand declined. Tokyo was closed for a holiday.

"China's authorities are becoming more concerned about the economic downturn," said UBS economist Tao Wang in a report. "In the next couple of months, we expect the government to speed up infrastructure investment with enhanced support from policy banks and cut the benchmark interest rate."

Benchmark U.S. crude gained 8 cents to $59.24 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 48 cents on Friday to close at $59.15.

The dollar weakened to 120.10 yen from Friday's 120.17 yen. The euro declined to $1.1187 from $1.1201.