TOKYO - Global stocks were higher Wednesday after the new head of the Federal Reserve vowed a continuation of low interest rates. Stronger Chinese trade figures and the shelving of another U.S. debt limit battle also boosted markets.
Gains in Asia outpaced Europe where
trading was more muted. Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.1 percent to 6,680.93 and
France's CAC 40 rose 0.3 percent to 4,294.79. Germany's DAX climbed 0.5 percent
to 9,522.13. Futures augured a higher open on Wall Street, with Dow and S&P
500 futures both up 0.1 percent.
Yellen's remarks worked to calm some
of the jitters in global markets about slowing growth in China, the world's No.
"Basically, it's all about her
comments," said Takuya Takahashi, strategist at Daiwa Securities Co. in
Worries about China's economy were
also eased after the government reported faster growth in imports and exports
Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 0.6 percent
to finish at 14,800.06. Japanese markets were closed Tuesday for a national
Hong Kong's Hang Seng surged 1.5
percent to 22,285.79 and South Korea's Kospi added 0.2 percent to 1,935.84.
Markets in Southeast Asia, Australia and India also gained.
China's Shanghai Composite Index was
0.3 percent higher.
Stock markets were also lifted by U.S. lawmakers avoiding another high-stakes battle over the government's debt limit, said Hiromichi Tamura, chief strategist at Nomura Securities Co. in Tokyo.House Republicans backed away from a fight over the government's debt cap on Tuesday and permitted President Barack Obama's Democratic allies to drive quick passage of a measure to increase the government's borrowing so it can pay its bills and avoid a default ahead of the November elections
Benchmark U.S. crude for March
delivery was up 58 cents to $100.53 a barrel in electronic trading on the New
York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 12 cents to $99.94 on Tuesday.
In currency trading, the dollar cost 102.48 yen late afternoon in Asia, down slightly from 102.52 late Tuesday. The euro rose to $1.3640 from $1.3630.