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Global stocks climb on signs US rate hike off table for now

BEIJING, China – Global stocks rose Wednesday after Wall Street edged higher on news the U.S. Federal Reserve is in no hurry to raise interest rates. Japan’s benchmark fell after July trade declined.

KEEPING SCORE: France’s CAC-40 index rose 1.5 per cent to 4,410.55 points and Germany’s DAX added 0.4 per cent to 10,581.42. Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.4 per cent to 6,890.42. On Thursday, the CAC-40 dropped 0.9 per cent and the DAX shed 1.3 per cent while the FTSE 100 lost 0.5 per cent. On Wall Street, the future for the Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.1 per cent while that for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index was unchanged.

FED MIXED SIGNALS: Notes of the Fed’s July meeting showed officials saying a rate hike might be warranted but gave no indication of timing. Low rates have pushed up stock prices and any change might cool investor enthusiasm.

ANALYST’S TAKE: “There is clearly strong disagreement within the Fed with regards to the timing of further rate hikes,” said Angus Nicholson of IG in a report. “Despite some members saying that an immediate hike is appropriate and some saying one would soon be warranted, the more cautious members of the Fed said that they would have ‘ample time’ to react to a rise in inflation. This does seem to be a noticeable a change from the previous concern that the Fed may ‘overshoot’ the inflation target.”

JAPANESE TRADE: Both exports and imports in July suffered their biggest one-day decline since the aftermath of the global crisis in 2009. Exports sank 14 per cent from a year earlier while imports plunged 25 per cent in a sign of persistent weak domestic demand. The rise in the yen to about 99 to the dollar has made imports cheaper but Japanese goods more expensive for foreign customers, hurting an economic recovery. The trade decline by volume was milder, with exports falling 2.5 per cent while imports declined 4 per cent.

ASIA’S DAY: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1 per cent to 23,028.08 while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.2 per cent to 3,104.11. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 slid 1.5 per cent to 16,486.01. Seoul’s Kospi added 0.9 per cent to 2,017.94 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 advanced 0.4 per cent to 5,497.40. India’s Sensex rose 0.6 per cent to 28,166.50 and benchmarks in Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia also gained. Singapore and Malaysia declined.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 19 cents to $46.98 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract climbed 21 cents on Wednesday to close at $46.79. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 12 cents to $49.72 in London. It jumped 62 cents the previous session to $49.85.

CURRENCY: The dollar edged up to 100.28 yen from Wednesday’s 99.84 yen. The euro strengthened to $1.1310 from $1.1298.