World stock markets rise on expectations Fed not in a hurry to reduce monetary stimulus'

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Global stock markets were mostly higher Monday amid growing expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve won’t start reducing its monetary stimulus until at least the first quarter of next year.

With uncertainty over the raising of the U.S. borrowing limit temporarily resolved, investors have focused on other matters, notably when the Federal Reserve will reduce its mammoth monetary stimulus that has been a boon for stock markets.

U.S. hiring and durable goods orders for September were weaker than expected, signalling that growth momentum may be slowing and reinforcing expectations that a scaling back of stimulus known as “tapering” won’t begin until next year, Mitul Kotecha of Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong said in a market commentary.

Further U.S. data releases this week including September industrial production, retail sales, inflation and consumer confidence as well as a Fed policy meeting could reaffirm that expectation, he said. The Fed is buying $85 billion of U.S. government bonds and other securities with the aim of keeping interest rates low to support economic recovery.

“The bad news is good philosophy of markets means that data is helping to aid expectations that Fed tapering may be delayed,” he said. “We continue to anticipate tapering to begin in January although admittedly the market is shifting expectations to even later.”

In early European trading, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.2 per cent at 6,732.59 while Germany’s DAX rose 0.3 per cent to 9,008.31. The CAC-40 in France, however, was off 0.1 per cent at 4,267.81.

Futures pointed to modest gains on Wall Street with Dow futures up 0.2 per cent at 15,531 and S&P 500 futures higher by 0.2 per cent to 1,757.70.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 2.2 per cent to 14,396.04 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.5 per cent to 22,806.58.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index rebounded from earlier losses to rise fractionally to 2,133.87, putting aside worries over a possible credit crunch following the Chinese central bank’s refusal last week to inject funds into money markets to curb frothy credit growth.

Benchmarks in Taiwan, Seoul, Malaysia and Singapore were also higher.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude for December delivery was down 1 cent at $97.83 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 74 cents to close at $97.85 on Friday.

The euro was little changed at $1.3808. The dollar rose to 97.68 yen from 97.63 yen late Friday in New York.