Asian stock markets extend global rally

TOKYO (AP) — Asian stock markets rose Friday, buoyed by a two-day rally on Wall Street and an assurance by the European Central Bank that it would not end special liquidity measures for lenders.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average rose 0.1 percent to 10,182.25. The index at one point hit a fresh six-month intraday high.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 0.2 percent to 23,495.86, South Korea’s Kospi edged up 0.2 percent to 1,953.79 and Australia’s SP/ASX 200 added 0.3 percent to 4,689.2.

Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan and New Zealand also advanced, while the Shanghai Composite index was lower by 0.5 percent to 2,830.41.

Among the region’s big movers, shares of Samsung Electronics Co. surged 3.4 percent as investors cheered a management shuffle at the Korean giant. Lee Jae-yong, the son of Samsung Electronics Co. Chairman Lee Kun-hee was promoted to president, up from executive vice president.

In New York Thursday, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 106.63, or 1 percent, to close at 11,362.41 as strong retail sales and a healthy reading on the housing market fueled positive sentiment.

Major retailers reported sales in November that were stronger than analysts expected, and The National Association of Realtors said the number of people who signed contracts to buy homes jumped 10.4 percent in October. Economists expected a slight decline.

Adding to the optimistic mood was confirmation from the European Central Bank that it will continue to offer whatever loans banks need at a super-low rate through the first half of next year.

The broader Standard Poor’s 500 index rose 15.46, or 1.3 percent, to 1,221.53. The Nasdaq composite index rose 29.92, or 1.2 percent, to 2,579.35.

In currencies, the dollar slipped to 83.69 yen from 83.85 yen late Thursday. The euro fell to $1.3195 from $1.3221.

Benchmark crude for January delivery was down 9 cents at $87.91 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added $1.25 to settle at $88 a barrel on Thursday.

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