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Wall Street Leans Higher Pre-Bell; Futures Green, Europe Gains, Asia Up

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Wall Street pre-market Friday is leaning higher, with US stock-index futures pointing to an opening bell up 0.40% from Thursday’s close. European bourses are trading higher, and Asian exchanges gained after Beijing stronger-than-expected March export figures. Disney (DIS) will launch a streaming service for $6.99 a month. Uber’s IPO filing reveals $1.85 billion in losses in 2018, and a long ride to profits. Bitcoin trades for $5,065, oil trades for $64.53, and 10-year US Treasuries offer 2.50%

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On the economic calendar at 8:30 an ET are import/export prices, and then the University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey arrives at 10 am. The Baker-Hughes domestic oil-and-gas rig count is due at 1 pm.

First Republic Bank (FRC), Infosys (INFY), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), PNC Financial (PNC) and Wells Fargo (WFC) report earnings pre-bell.

In the futures, the S&P 500 is up 0.41%, the Nasdaq is up 0.37%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 0.60%.

In Europe, the UK’s FTSE 100 is up 0.41%, the French CAC 40 is up 0.28% and the German DAX is up 0.49%.

Asian stock markets edged higher after Beijing officials reported March exports rose 14.2% year-over-year, a stronger-than-expected performance. Hong Kong and Tokyo gained, although Shanghai was flat, while other regional exchanges mostly finished in the green.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 opened evenly and rose in trading, led by consumer and tech-issues. A softer yen boosted optimism in export-oriented Japan, said analysts.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 159.18, or 0.73%, to 21,870.56, although losing issues outnumbered gainers 139 to 78.

The index found strength in consumer and tech issues, including index-heavyweight and diversified retailer Fast Retailing (FRCOY, 9983:Tokyo), up 7.9% after reporting higher fiscal H1 profit. Engineer Chiyoda (CHYCY, 6366:Tokyo) rose 6.4%, and tech-finance house SoftBank (SFTBK, 9984:Tokyo) advanced 4.9%. SoftBank is the largest shareholder in ride-hailing firm Uber, which is set to go public.

On the downside were homebuilder Daiwa House (1925:Tokyo), off 5.6%, and then oil-refiner Idemitsu Kosan (IDKOY, 5019:Tokyo), off 3.5%.

The Nikkei 225 is up 9.27% year-to-date.

In economic news, the US wants a temporary trade deal with Japan limited to farm products ahead of a full-fledged bilateral deal, US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said Thursday.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index rose in afternoon trading after mainland China officials reported Chinese exports in March rose handily from a year earlier, although imports sagged.

The broad gauge Hang Seng rose 70.31, or 0.24%, to 29,909.76, as gaining shares outnumbered losers 29 to 17.

Leading the upside were pork-purveyor WH Group (288:HK), up 3.8%, followed by Hong Kong mass-transit operator MTR (66:HK), up 1.6%, and then old-line conglomerate Swire Pacific (19:HK), up 1.4%.

On the downside were Geely Automotive (175:HK), off 4.1%, and then confectioner Want Want China (151:HK), off 1.7%.

The Hang Seng is up 15,72% year-to-date.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite slipped 0.04% to 3,188.63.

In economic news, dollar-denominated mainland China exports rose 14.2% in March year-over-year, above expectations, imports were down 7.6% in the same 12 months, softer than expected. China’s March trade surplus with the US was $20.5 billion.

On the other exchanges, the S. Korean Kospi inclined 0.41%; the Taiwan TWSE lost 0.03%; the Australian ASX 200 gained 0.85%; the Singapore Straits Times Index rose 0.03%, and the Thai Set picked up 0.08%. In late trading in Mumbai, the Sensex was up 0.41%.

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