Global Stocks Drift Higher Friday

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Global stock markets drifted higher on Friday as investors restored calm a day after worries about the Fed's rate hike signals prompted sell-offs.

KEEPING SCORE: Europe got off to a strong start. Britain's FTSE 100 gained 1.3 percent to 6,132.16 and Germany's DAX rose 0.7 percent to 9,868.20. France's CAC 40 advanced 0.8 percent to 4,318.66. Futures showed a tepid start for Wall Street. Dow futures rose 0.2 percent while S&P futures also added 0.2 percent.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.5 percent to 16,736.35 while South Korea's Kospi edged up 0.1 percent to 1,947.67. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.8 percent to 19,852.20. China's Shanghai Composite Index added 0.7 percent to 2,825.48. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.5 percent to 5,351.30.

FED WATCH: At the Fed's meeting in April, policymakers indicated an increase in rates was likely in June, assuming the economy and labor market continue to strengthen. Asian stocks finished lower on Thursday at the unexpected rate hike signal. Higher rates diminish the appeal of high-dividend companies to investors seeking income.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "It's rare that the Fed speakers put on a unified front to warn about potential policy changes. We are usually accustomed to their mantra for data-driven policy decisions," said Bernard Aw, a market strategist at IG. "Investors are worried that if there is a rate hike in June, the economy may not be able to support it."

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude oil added 12 cents to $48.80 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 11 cents to close at $48.67 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 12 cents to $48.93 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 110.24 yen from 109.94 yen, while the euro rose to $1.1220 from $1.1203.

(KA)