TOKYO - European shares rose Friday and the pound jumped as British election results suggested the Conservative Party had won enough support to form a stable government. Worse-than-expected Chinese trade figures revived hopes for additional economic stimulus measures and boosted Asian stocks.
Britain's FTSE 100 gained 1.5 percent to 6,989.90 and Germany's DAX added 0.5 percent to 11,461.71. France's CAC 40 rose 0.5 percent to 4,993.92. U.S. markets looked set for gains, with Dow and S&P 500 futures both up 0.2 percent.
The Conservative Party surged to a surprisingly commanding lead in Britain's parliamentary election, with results backing an exit poll's prediction that Prime Minister David Cameron would remain in his office at 10 Downing Street. With Cameron's Conservatives on the cusp of winning a majority in the 650-seat House of Commons, the pound was up 0.4 percent against the dollar and up 0.5 percent against the euro.
"With the Conservatives appearing to have gained ground and unexpectedly gaining seats, this seems like it is the market friendly result," market strategist Stan Shamu of IG said in a commentary. "Election talk is likely to spill over into the weekend and it'll be interesting to see how long the momentum in the FTSE and sterling can last."
The customs administration released data showing a deteriorating trade performance in April from the year before and much worse than forecast. Exports fell 6.4 percent and imports tumbled 16.2 percent. It was a sour note to end the week given China's huge role as a driver of regional growth, but raised hopes for more stimulus to counter the slowdown.
U.S. Treasurys prices rose sharply Thursday, sending benchmark yields lower and helping to settle world markets a day after a flood of selling that had put pressure on stock prices as investors pondered whether yields were likely to remain high. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.19 percent from 2.25 percent late Wednesday, an unusually large move.
Jobs data due out Friday are expected to show U.S. employers added 215,000 jobs in April and the unemployment rate ticked down to 5.4 percent. March's employment jobs report was much weaker than Wall Street had anticipated but may be revised.
Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.5 percent to 19,379.19 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1.1 percent to 27,577.34. South Korea's Kospi shed 0.3 percent to 2,085.52 while the Shanghai Composite Index advanced 2.3 percent to 4,205.92. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 0.2 percent to 5,634.60, while shares in Southeast Asia were higher. India's Sensex gained 2.0 percent to 26,964.65 and New Zealand's market also gained.
U.S. oil rose 2 cents to $58.97 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It dropped $1.99, or 3.3 percent, to $58.94 per barrel on Thursday, the biggest drop in U.S. oil since April 8. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by U.S. refineries to make gasoline, fell 10 cents to $65.44 a barrel. It fell $2.23 to $65.54 per barrel on Thursday.
The dollar rose to 120.01 yen from 119.73 yen on Thursday. The euro fell to $1.1237 from $1.1244.