LONDON, Jan 10 European stocks are seen opening higher on Thursday, taking heart after stronger-than-expected Chinese trade data pointed to improvement both in the metals-hungry Asian powerhouse and the broader world economy. Financial spreadbetters expected Britain's FTSE 100 to open 2 to 4 points higher, or as much as 0.1 percent, Germany's DAX to add 13 to 15 points, or up to 0.2 percent, and France's CAC 40 to gain 3 to 4 points, or as much as 0.1 percent. The gains in the national indexes should nudge the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 to fresh 2-year highs, building on gains of 0.7 percent the previous session and heading for its best week in a month and a half. Iron ore imports in China, the world's top buyer, hit a record high in December, likely offering relief to international mining companies. Meanwhile, exports out of China 3-1/2 times faster than expected last month, flagging a cautious economic improvement globally. The Chinese figures helped boost Asian stock markets overnight, while Wall Street also closed higher thanks to a relatively solid start to the quarterly reporting season. So far, 5 percent of S&P 500 companies have reported, with only one in three missing earnings expectations, according to Thomson Reuters Starmine. In Europe, the results season is not due to start in earnest for another week, although a trading update from Tesco on Thursday will offer fresh clues into the health of the retail sector. Both the Bank of England and the European Central Bank are expected to leave policy unchanged at the end of their monthly meetings on Thursday, balancing still weak economies with inflation pressures. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0606 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,461.02 0.27 % 3.87 NIKKEI 10,652.64 0.7 % 74.07 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 0.6 % 3.34 EUR/USD 1.3045 -0.14 % -0.0018 USD/JPY 88.13 0.3 % 0.2600 10-YR US TSY YLD 1.875 -- 0.01 10-YR BUND YLD 1.476 -- -0.01 SPOT GOLD $1,657.87 0.03 % $0.58 US CRUDE $93.50 0.43 % 0.40 > GLOBAL MARKETS-Strong China trade data underpins risk assets > US STOCKS-Wall Street rises after Alcoa reports earnings > Japan's Nikkei climbs on weaker yen, strong China data > Prices near flat as gov't debt ceiling debate looms > Yen near 2-1/2-year low, Aussie up on strong China data > Gold hovers below $1,660/oz; eyes on ECB > Copper climbs after brightening China trade data > Brent inches up towards $112 as China data beats expectations
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