World stocks mixed amid hopes Fed will introduce more measures to boost US economy

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

World stocks mixed amid hopes Fed to act on growth

BANGKOK — Asian stock markets mostly climbed Wednesday, supported by growing speculation that the Federal Reserve is likely to introduce more measures to support the U.S. economy, a key market for Asia’s exporters. European shares were mostly lower.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average rose 63.62 points, or 0.7 percent, to 9,559.38. Sentiment was upbeat in Tokyo as a key central bank survey of business confidence at major Japanese manufacturers improved for the sixth straight quarter. But companies also signaled they are anxious about the future amid cooling global growth and a strong yen.

The Bank of Japan’s quarterly “tankan” survey showed that the main index for large manufacturers stood at 8, up from 1 three months ago.

In early European trade, France’s CAC-40 fell 0.6 percent to 3,739.77, Germany’s DAX slipped 0.5 percent to 6,246.42 and Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.1 percent to 5,572.13.

Wall Street was set to log modest losses. Dow futures were off 28, or 0.3 percent, at 10,760.00. Broader S&P futures shed 4, or 0.4 percent, to 1,137.70.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index gained 268.72 points, or 1.2 percent, to 22,378.67 while South Korea’s Kospi increased 10.48, or 0.6 percent, to 1,866.45. Markets in Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia also climbed.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index closed down 0.5 percent at 4,645.00 and the Shanghai Composite Index retreated less than 0.1 percent to 2,610.68.

In New York overnight, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 46.10 points, or 0.4 percent, to 10,858.14 despite a slump in U.S. consumer confidence.

A monthly survey showed Tuesday that U.S. consumer confidence in September dropped to its lowest level since February. Economists closely monitor the confidence survey as consumer spending alone accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.

The weak confidence result sparked market speculation that the Fed might announce further stimulus measures at the end of a Nov. 2-3 meeting in a bid to shore up the recovery in the U.S. economy.

In currencies, the dollar fell to 83.60 yen from 83.85 yen late Tuesday in New York. The euro rose to $1.3598 from $1.3574.

Benchmark crude for November delivery was up 31 cents to $76.49 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 34 cents to settle at $76.18 on Tuesday.

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