World stock markets opened 2009 on a high note, with Hong Kong's index up more than 4 percent, as investors shrugged off more dreary economic news to focus on government moves to ease the global slump.
With most investors away for the holidays and more than half of Asia's markets still closed, trading volumes were extremely light, which exaggerates price moves. Chinese telecom firms surged after Beijing approved next-generation mobile licenses, and commodity companies were lifted by stronger prices for raw materials. European benchmarks followed Asia higher in early trade.
But many analysts found little reason to be optimistic about the world economy as a whole. After one of the worst years ever for global equities, many expect more volatility in the first half as the effects of falling exports and higher capital costs start showing up on company balance sheets.
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