BANGKOK (AP) - Asian stock markets rose Thursday after an unexpectedly strong U.S. housing report renewed confidence in the world's biggest economy and the latest data from China suggested the worst of its slump is over.
The U.S. Commerce Department said builders started construction on new single-family houses and apartments at the fastest pace in more than four years. Housing starts surged to an annual rate of 872,000 in September, far above estimates. Housing is crucial to any economic recovery in the U.S. and the figures offset the gloom from some mediocre earnings reports.
Checking the markets, Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose sharply, by 2 percent while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.6 percent.
Benchmark oil for November delivery was up 1 cent at $92.13 per barrel at midday Bangkok time on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
First Coast News