World today: Stocks jump; Hong Kong index leaps 10%

HONG KONG -- Asian stock markets roared back from last week's historic nosedive Monday on hopes that a coordinated effort by governments worldwide would dampen a financial inferno that has consumed U.S. and European banks and raised fears of a global recession.

In ongoing European trading, markets were up strongly as well. Germany's DAX was up 6.6%, while France's CAC-40 was up 7.2%. Britain's FTSE 100 was up 5.6% higher.

In the United States, Wall Street stock futures suggested a rebound was in store for the major indexes ahead of the opening bell on Monday. Dow Jones industrials futures rose 331 points, or 3.9%, to 8,701. Nasdaq 100 futures rose 51.7, or 4%, to 1,334; and Standard & Poor's 500 futures added 43, or 4.8%, to 934.04.

In Hong Kong, the benchmark Hang Seng index climbed 10.2% to 16,313.16 after plunging 7% Friday. South Korea's Kospi rose 3.8%, Singapore's Straits Times index 6.6%, the Stock Exchange of Thailand index 5.4%. Tokyo's stock market was closed Monday for a holiday.

Asian investors were timid as markets opened Monday — shares initially fell in Hong Kong — but gained confidence as the day wore on. Indonesian authorities reopened the stock exchange in Jakarta after closing it last Wednesday to wait out the market meltdown; the Jakarta Composite index fell nearly 7% in the first half hour of trading Monday before regaining its footing and ending the day with a 0.70% gain.

Behind the improved spirits: Governments around the world have signaled they will move aggressively to end the financial crisis that began with the collapse of the U.S. market for sub-prime mortgages. "The political determination is total," Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the International Monetary Fund, told Europe-1 radio.

The European countries that use the euro currency pledged Sunday to guarantee bank refinancing and to prevent bank failures. And finance ministers from the Group of 20, which includes rich countries and major emerging economies such as China and India, vowed to thaw out a frozen financial system — though they did not announce a specific plan.

"Markets have faith in the initiatives," Tine Olsen, an economist with Moodys in Sydney, Australia, wrote early Monday. "Anything else would have caused severe distress."

Contributing: wire reports


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