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Strong US jobs figures, Brexit hopes, lift global stocks

Strong US jobs figures, Brexit hopes, lift global stocks

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LONDON (AP) — Strong U.S. jobs figures combined with progress in Britain's talks to leave the European Union and hopes surrounding the formation of the next German government to shore up global stock markets on Friday.

KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 was up 0.7 percent to 7,370 while Germany's DAX added 1.1 percent to 13,182. The CAC 40 of France rose 0.3 percent to 5,303. U.S. stocks were poised for solid gains at the open with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.3 percent.

US JOBS: U.S. employers added a robust 228,000 jobs in November, a sign of the job market's enduring strength in its ninth year of economic recovery. And the unemployment rate remained at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent, the Labor Department reported. The figures have reinforced expectations that the Federal Reserve will not only raise interest rates again next week and that there could be another three or four rate hikes next year too.

ANALYST TAKE: "An accompanying pick-up in wages, however, could also prove a portent of higher inflation, with taller interest rates surely on the horizon over the coming months," said Dennis de Jong, managing director at

BREXIT: British Prime Minister Theresa May announced that an agreement between Britain and the European Union guarantees the rights of 3 million EU citizens in the U.K. and 1 million Britons elsewhere in the bloc. It also ensures there will be no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit. The European Union's chief negotiator welcomed the breakthrough but said there was still work to be done.

GERMANY POLITICS: Germany's center-left Social Democrats have agreed to open talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives on whether to renew their governing coalition or at least to support a minority government. Party leader Martin Schulz, Merkel's defeated challenger in Germany's Sept. 24 election, secured a party congress's agreement to a motion calling for talks on "whether and in what form" the party could support a new government.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 1.4 percent to 22,811.08, while South Korea's Kospi eked out a 0.1 percent gain to 2,464.00. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.2 percent to 28,639.85 and the Shanghai Composite in mainland China added 0.6 percent to 3,289.99. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.3 percent to 5,994.40.

ENERGY: Oil futures retreated. Benchmark U.S. crude climbed 89 cents to $57.58 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange while Brent crude, the international standard, picked up 93 cents to $63.12 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The euro fell 0.2 percent to $1.1751 while the dollar rose 0.2 percent to 113.34 yen.

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