TOKYO - European shares were higher Monday, supported by expectations the European Central Bank is prepared to offer new stimulus to nurse the region's recovery. Gains in Asia were spurred by approval of a cross-border trading link between Hong Kong and Shanghai that will give foreigners greater access to Chinese shares.
Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.4 percent in early trading to 6,592.40 and the CAC-40 in France added 0.4 percent to 4,207.28. Germany's DAX was up 0.2 percent at 9,308.64. Wall Street looked poised to edge higher: Both Dow Jones industrial and S&P 500 futures up 0.1 percent.
China and Hong Kong led gains in Asia following the approval of a cross-border trading link that will give foreigners greater access to Chinese shares. That potentially could draw in more buyers and boost shares which have languished since hitting a peak in 2006. Authorized investors in both cities will be allowed to buy and sell up to 23.5 billion yuan ($3.8 billion) of stocks in certain companies each day through the link. Mainland Chinese investors will get up to 10.5 billion yuan of that daily limit, while investors in Hong Kong get the rest. The link is expected to go live on Nov. 17.
The Hong Kong-Shanghai link "has prompted financial brokerage-related stocks higher, as investors feel optimistic about the prospect of global investors accessing Chinese stocks from Hong Kong," said Stan Shamu, market strategist at IG in Melbourne, Australia.
China's trade growth decelerated in October, though the 11.6 percent rise in exports from a year earlier was still relatively robust. China's consumer inflation rate was steady in October, government data showed Monday, amid signs of cooling economic growth. But the consumer price index rose 1.6 percent in October from a year earlier, the same increase as in September, reinforcing worries that a deeper slowdown is looming after growth slowed to 7.3 percent in the third quarter.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.8 percent to 23,744.70 and China's Shanghai Composite surged 2.3 percent to 2,473.67. South Korea's Kospi climbed 1 percent to 1,958.23. Japan's Nikkei 225 closed 0.6 percent lower at 16,780.53 after the yen unwound some of its recent weakness against the dollar. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.5 percent to 5,524.00. Shares were higher in Taiwan, New Zealand and Singapore.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil was up 12 cents to $78.76 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It ended Friday up 74 cents at $78.65. Brent crude, used to price oil in international markets, gained 18 cents to $83.57.
The dollar fell to 114.07 yen from 114.59 on Friday. The euro rose to $1.2470 from $1.2453 on Friday.