Global stock markets rally for second day after Fed's rate pledge, Sony down

SEOUL, South Korea – Global stocks rallied for a second day Friday after the Federal Reserve’s reassurance it was in no hurry to hike interest rates. But shares of Sony Corp. dropped as a hacking scandal rocked its American movies unit.

KEEPING SCORE: Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.6 per cent to 6,507.42 France’s CAC 40 added 0.2 per cent to 4,257.02 and Germany’s DAX advanced 0.4 per cent to 9,849.22. Wall Street was headed for another day of gains as well. Dow futures were up 0.5 per cent and S&P futures rose 0.4 per cent.

THE QUOTE: “With the rally managing to last more than a day, I feel the Fed will be pleased it managed to find the right balance with its language,” said Stan Shamu, a market strategist at IG in Melbourne, Australia.

FED MEETING: Fed Chair Janet Yellen said Wednesday that she foresaw no rate hike in the first quarter of 2015 and the Fed will be “patient” in deciding when to do so. The comments eased concerns that policymakers would start raising interest rates at a time when growth outside the U.S. appears to be flagging. They also helped investors look past worries about the impact of a slumping oil price and turmoil in Russia, where the currency has slumped.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 jumped 2.4 per cent to 17,621.40 and South Korea’s Kospi added 1.7 per cent 1,929.98. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 1.3 per cent to 23,116.63 while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 vaulted 2.5 per cent to 5,338.60. Stocks in Southeast Asia, Taiwan, India and New Zealand also rose.

SONY DIVE: Shares of Sony closed 1.3 per cent lower in Tokyo amid the fallout from last month’s hack of computer systems at Sony Pictures Entertainment. The studio’s reputation is in tatters as embarrassing revelations spill from tens of thousands of leaked emails that could damage its relationships with stars and give other studios an advantage. American investigators have linked North Korea to the hack of the Hollywood company and Sony Pictures cancelled the release of “The Interview,” a movie that spoofs an assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

SAMSUNG SURGE: Shares of Samsung Electronics Co. finished 4.9 per cent higher after the company said it might increase dividends by as much as 50 per cent. The company said it will finalize its dividend plan late next month. Samsung’s share price has underperformed due to concerns about shrinking sales of Galaxy smartphones. Shareholders have pressured the company to pay more dividends from its large cash reserves.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude was up 91 cents to $55.02 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract sank $2.36 to close Wednesday at $54.11 a barrel, after rising as high as $58.71 in morning trading. Oil has plunged since June, when it peaked at $107 a barrel. Overproduction and weak demand are behind the fall in global oil.

CURRENCIES: The euro rose to $1.2283 from $1.2279. The dollar rose to 119.38 yen from 118.94 yen.