Stocks rise after solid economic data, earnings

Equities reversed an earlier firm trend

Global stock markets rose Tuesday following good economic data out of Germany and Britain and generally solid US corporate earnings.

European bourses pushed higher, with Frankfurt adding 0.7 percent. Wall Street's gains were more modest, but strong results from Johnson & Johnson lifted the Dow.

Earlier, Asian equities rose, on the eve of vital Chinese first-quarter economic growth data.

The ZEW institute's barometer on German investor confidence notched its first positive reading for the indicator in just over a year, a period in which threats to growth like Brexit, trade wars and weakness in emerging markets have plagued investors.

The uptick "is based above all on hope that the global economic context will develop less badly than previously supposed," ZEW chief Achim Wambach said in a statement.

"A contribution to the improved expectations will have come from the delay to the date of Brexit" to October 31 at a European summit last week, he added.

Britain itself also had good news, with employment reaching a record-high level in the three-month period through February, shaking off stubborn uncertainty surrounding the nation's departure from the European Union, official data showed.

"The UK job market remained encouragingly buoyant in February, with a combination of rising employment and falling unemployment pushing pay up at one of the fastest rates seen since the global financial crisis over 10 years ago," noted Christopher Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit.

"However, forward-looking survey data suggest that demand for staff has cooled, which will likely feed through to weaker jobs growth and easing pay pressures in coming months."

In the US, Dow member Johnson & Johnson climbed 1.1 percent after reporting first-quarter profits of $2.10 per share, better than analyst expectations. The health products company also confirmed its full-year sales forecast.

Bank of America eked out a 0.1 percent gain after reporting net income rose 5.8 percent to $6.9 billion. However, revenues fell slightly as strength in consumer banking offset weakness in markets.

Analysts have been predicting a drop in US corporate earnings overall, but say stocks could gain if companies outperform the lowered bar.

- China in focus -

Investor focus turns now to China's economic growth figures on Wednesday, which come after a number of upbeat readings on the world's number two economy -- including factory activity, inflation, new loans and trade -- that have given some cause for optimism.

"China has implemented a huge amount of stimulus into the economy more recently to deal with the impact of trade wars and a general synchronized slowdown," said analyst Sam Buckingham at Thomas Miller Investment.

"We are starting to see the positive signs of this stimulus showing up in some of the country's soft-data series.

"If the hard data, such as GDP growth, does not follow this same path and in fact undershoots expectations, we would expect volatility, i.e. fear, to increase in financial markets."

- Key figures around 2100 GMT -

New York - Dow: UP 0.3 percent at 26,452.66 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.1 percent at 2,907.06 (close)

New York -Nasdaq: UP 0.3 percent at 8,000.23 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.4 percent at 7,469.92 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.7 percent at 12,101.32 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.4 percent at 5,528.67 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.4 percent at 3,463.36 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.2 percent at 22,221.66 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 1.1 percent at 30,129.87 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 2.4 percent at 3,253.60 (close)

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3048 from $1.3100 at 2100 GMT on Monday

Euro/pound: UP at 86.45 pence from 86.30 pence

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1281 from $1.1304

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 112.00 yen from 112.04 yen

Oil - Brent Crude: UP 54 cents at $71.72 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: UP 65 cents at $64.05 per barrel

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