The Asian stock markets are expected to open to the upside on Monday after Eurozone finance ministers decided to raise the combined size of the region's bailout funds to prevent the possible spillover of the debt crisis in some member states.
The ceiling for lending by the European Stability Mechanism and European Financial Stability Facility will be increased to EUR 700 billion, the Eurogroup said on Friday.
Tempering the positive sentiment is a mixed batch of U.S. economic data which showed an increase in personal spending in February and an unexpected improvement in consumer sentiment in March - but the Institute for Supply Management - Chicago also reported a slowdown in the pace of growth in regional business activity.
The major U.S. averages were mixed on Friday, with the tech-heavy NASDAQ edging down 3.79 points or 0.1 percent to finish at 3,091.57. The Dow rose 66.22 points or 0.5 percent to end at 13,212.04 and the S&P 500 climbed 5.19 points or 0.4 percent to close at 1,408.47.
The major European markets all moved higher on Friday. The DAX of Germany gained 1.04 percent and the CAC 40 of France rose by 1.26 percent, while the FTSE 100 of the U.K. climbed by 0.46 percent and the SMI of Switzerland closed up by 0.96 percent.
The Asian markets were mixed again on Friday as India surged 2.03 percent, while Taiwan jumped 0.77 percent, Malaysia gathered 0.62 percent, Singapore spiked 0.55 percent, China's Shanghai Composite climbed 0.47 percent and Indonesia collected 0.40 percent.
On the other hand, Thailand retreated 0.59 percent, while Japan's Nikkei lost 0.31 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.26 percent and South Korea's KOSPI eased 0.02 percent.
Finally, the stock markets in China are closed on Monday through Wednesday for Tomb Sweeping Day; they will re-open on Thursday.
by RTT Staff Writer
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