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Global stocks rise as China credit growth rebounds

BEIJING - Global stocks rose Monday after China's bank lending rebounded and European economic growth exceeded forecasts.

In Europe, France's CAC-40 rose 0.1 percent to 4,342.71 and Germany's DAX added 0.1 percent to 9,669.62. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.5 percent to 6,695.40.

Wall Street is closed Monday for a public holiday. Futures augured gains for its next trading session Tuesday, with Dow futures and S&P 500 futures both up 0.2 percent.

Lending by Chinese banks and in the largely unregulated underground market rebounded to 2.6 trillion yuan ($430 billion) in January from December's 1.2 billion yuan. Lending usually surges at the start of a new year but January's rise exceeded forecasts and might help to ease worries about cooling retail sales, manufacturing and other activity.

"The January credit data could boost confidence in short term economic growth," said Bank of America economists Ting Lu and Xiaojia Zhi in a report. However, they cautioned such data also might raise concerns about the health of China's financial system.

The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.9 percent to 2,135.41 and Tokyo's Nikkei 225 gained 0.6 percent to 14,393.11.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1 percent to 22,520.74. Seoul and Sydney also rose.

 Tokyo's rise came despite Japan's latest quarterly economic growth disappointing forecasters, holding steady at 0.3 percent. Growth in private consumption accelerated to 0.5 percent from the previous quarter's 0.2 percent but fell short of forecasts. Public investment growth tumbled to 2.3 percent from the previous quarter's 7.2 percent.

Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.5 percent to 5,382.90 and South Korea's Kospi added 0.3 percent to 1,946.36. Taiwan's Taiex was flat at 8,519.55.

The economy of the 17-nation euro currency bloc grew 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter, above expectations for 0.2 percent. That shows the recovery is getting a foothold, both in the larger economies such as Germany and weaker ones including Italy.

In currencies, the euro rose to $1.3709 from $1.3706 late Friday. The dollar rose to 101.85 yen from 101.74 yen.

Benchmark U.S. oil for March delivery was up 60 cents to $100.90 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 5 cents to close at $100.30 on Friday.

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