World Stock Higher Ahead of Fed Talk

BEIJING (AP) --- World stock markets mostly rose Wednesday as investors looked ahead to a Federal Reserve policy statement that could shed new light on when the U.S. central bank will raise interest rates.

KEEPING SCORE: France's CAC 40 gained 0.1 percent to 4843.68 and Germany's DAX added 0.2 percent to 11,060.07. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.1 percent to 6,715.94. Wall Street looked set for gains, with futures for the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 both up 0.3 percent. On Tuesday, the Dow and S&P both added 0.6 percent.

FED WATCH: Investors are looking ahead to the statement by the Fed's Open Market Committee due out later in the day on interest rate policy. They are looking for signs of when the U.S. central bank will begin raising its key interest rate after holding it close to zero for more than six years. Ultra-low rates have helped to drive a bull market in stocks. Many forecasters expect a rate hike in September if the economy keeps strengthening.

ASIA'S DAY: The Shanghai Composite Index started out declining for a third day but rebounded to end up 1.6 percent at 4,967.90. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 was off 0.2 percent at 20,219.27. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.7 percent to 26,753.79 and Seoul's Kospi added 0.3 percent to 2,034.86. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 rose 1.1 percent to 5,595.40 and India's Sensex added 0.7 percent to 26,884.80. Singapore, Bangkok, Manila and Jakarta also rose. New Zealand declined.

THE QUOTE: "It seems like traders are throwing caution into the wind, as they buy into Asian equities ahead of the FOMC meeting," said strategist Bernard Aw of IG Markets in a report. "This could partially be that the market is accustomed to the typically market-friendly tune hummed by the Fed. Whatever is the reason or observation, the market is anticipating a probably dovish slant from the Fed."

CHINA VOLATILITY: Investors are bracing for volatility after the market benchmark fell Monday and Tuesday after gaining more than 50 percent this year. The government has taken steps to tighten regulation and rein in margin lending to finance stock purchases.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 13 cents to $60.10 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 45 cents on Tuesday to close at $59.97. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 55 cents to $64.26 in London after losing 25 cents on Tuesday to $63.70.

CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 123.73 yen from 123.42 yen on Tuesday. The euro edged up to $1.1270 from $1.1244.

(KA)