China reported exports rose 14.2% over a year earlier, rebounding from March's 20.8% contraction in a sign of stronger global demand. Sales to the American market also accelerated despite U.S. President Donald Trump's tariff increases.
In midday trading, London's FTSE 100 rose 0.4% to 7,451 and Frankfurt's DAX added 0.6% to 12,005. France's CAC 40 gained 0.3% to 5,504. On Wall Street, the future for the Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 0.5% to 2,907 and the same for the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained more than 0.7% to 26,316.
Traders are focused on company earnings reports due over the next few weeks in hopes of gleaning clues about the trajectory of the economy. Analysts expect companies in the S&P 500 to report a 3.3% drop in earnings per share from a year earlier, which would be the first decline since the spring of 2016. The expected drop in profits is due almost entirely to weaker profit margins.
In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 was 0.7% higher at 21,870.56 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.2% to 29,909.70. The Shanghai Composite Index ended down 1 point at 3,188.63. Seoul's Kospi gained 0.4% to 2,233.45 while Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 advanced 0.8% to 6,251.30. India's Sensex added 0.2% to 38,692.03. New Zealand gained while Taiwan and Southeast Asian markets retreated.
CHEVRON BUYS ANADARKO: Chevron said Friday it was buying Anadarko Petroleum in a $33 billion cash-and-stock deal, as it seeks to strengthen its deep water exploration in the gulf and the energy-rich southwest region of Texas called the Permian Basin. The deal, expected to close in the second half of 2019, comes as U.S. crude prices have risen 40% this year. Shares in Anadarko were up as much as 30% in premarket trading.
CHINA AUTO SALES: Auto sales in the global industry's biggest market fell again in March, declining 6.9% from a year ago, but the contraction was smaller than in recent months. It was the ninth straight month of decline amid broader consumer malaise but an improvement over the 17.5% contraction in January and February. The slump comes at an awkward time as global and Chinese automakers spend heavily to develop electric vehicles under government pressure to boost sales.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 97 cents to $64.55 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract dropped $1.03 on Thursday to close at $63.58. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 87 cents to $71.70 per barrel in London. It fell 90 cents the previous session to $70.83.
CURRENCY: The dollar gained to 111.97 yen from Thursday's 111.66 yen. The euro rose to $1.1320 from $1.1257.