Global stocks rise on Japan stimulus ahead of Fed statement


SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Global stocks rose Wednesday after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced plans for a 28 trillion-yen ($254 billion) stimulus package ahead of the latest policy statement from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.5 percent to 6,760 while France’s CAC 40 gained 1.4 percent to 4,457. Germany’s DAX advanced 0.8 percent to 10,325. Wall Street was poised for a solid opening too, with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.2 percent.

JAPAN STIMULUS: Japan is likely to be in focus through Friday when the country’s central bank is expected to deliver a fresh monetary stimulus. Ahead of that, Abe announced plans for extra spending worth more than 28 trillion yen to help boost growth. Details of how the spending will be allocated remains uncertain and analysts say much of the money may already be in the pipeline.

FED WATCH: The policymaking Federal Open Market Committee is scheduled to release its latest monetary policy statement later on Wednesday. While analysts expect the Fed to maintain interest rates, they did say recently that the strength in U.S. economic data coupled together with the recovery of investor sentiment since Britain’s referendum to leave the European Union, have revived the possibility of a rate hike later this year.

ANALYST TAKE: “It wants to hike rates but can’t; not while peers are moving in the opposite direction, their own currency-weakening action effectively delivering tighter U.S. policy by sending the dollar higher,” said Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets. “So it’s unlikely the Fed can hike again before year-end at the earliest either, which leaves equities grinning at the thought of even lower rates and even looser policy for even longer.”

ASIA’S DAY: Asian stock markets closed mostly higher. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.7 percent to 16,664.82 and Australia’s S&P/ASX200 was flat at 5,539.70. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index finished 0.4 percent higher at 22,218.99 but South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.1 percent to 2,025.05. Stocks in mainland China also fell.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude dropped 22 cents to $42.70 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange while Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 47 cents to $44.40 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The euro was flat at $1.0991 while the dollar rose 0.8 percent to 105.64 yen.

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