The Asian stock markets are expected to open higher on Friday, in anticipation of solid GDP data coming from China this morning. GDP is expected to rise 1.9 percent on quarter and 8.4 percent on year after rising 2.0 percent on quarter and 8.9 percent in the previous three months.
In addition, the U.S. Commerce Department said that the U.S. trade deficit narrowed to $46.0 billion in February from $52.5 billion in January. Economists had been expected a trade deficit of about $51.7 billion.
Also, the European Central Bank said that inflation in Eurozone is subject to upside risks and it is ready with all the tools necessary to address them "in a firm and timely manner."
In corporate news, Internet giant Google Inc. said on Thursday after the markets closed that its first quarter profit rose 61 percent from last year, helped by strong demand for its search advertising.
The major U.S. averages were higher on Thursday. The Dow jumped 181.19 points or 1.4 percent to finish at 12,986.58, while the NASDAQ surged 39.09 points or 1.3 percent to 3,055.05 and the S&P 500 soared 18.86 points or 1.4 percent to 1,387.57.
The major European markets also rose on Thursday. The CAC 40 of France rose by 0.99 percent and the DAX of Germany gained 1.03 percent. The FTSE 100 of the U.K. closed up by 1.34 percent and the SMI of Switzerland increased by 1.08 percent.
The Asian markets were mostly higher on Thursday as China's Shanghai Composite surged 1.82 percent, while Singapore's Straits Times spiked 1.08 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 0.93 percent, Japan rose 0.70 percent, Malaysia added 0.26 percent, Indonesia was up 0.2 percent and Taiwan gained 0.08 percent. South Korea's KOSPI shed 0.39 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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