Global Stocks Up After Wall St. Gains

TOKYO (AP) -- Global markets were mostly higher Wednesday, cheered by gains on Wall Street and optimism about the telecommunications industry.

KEEPING SCORE: France's CAC 40 added 0.8 percent to 4,668.23 in early trading, while Germany's DAX was up 0.9 percent at 10,876.54. Britain's FTSE 100 edged up 0.8 percent to 6,836.47. U.S. shares were set to drift higher, with Dow futures up nearly 0.1 percent at 19,249. S&P 500 futures inched up 0.02 percent to 2,210.60.

TRUMP TELECOMS: SoftBank's shares jumped 6.2 percent to finish at 7,387 in Tokyo after its CEO met with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and then announced the Japanese company, which owns the majority of Sprint, plans to invest $50 billion in the U.S. to create 50,000 jobs. Sprint added 1.5 percent and T-Mobile gained about 2 percent, amid speculation T-Mobile it could be acquired, possibly by SoftBank.

AUSTRALIA: The Australian economy contracted 0.5 percent in the September quarter in the first quarterly decline since early 2011, the government said Wednesday. A contraction in the current quarter would put the country in a technical recession for the first time in 25 years. Annual growth was 1.8 percent. The bigger-than-expected contraction raised hopes for possible stimulus measures.

ANALYST VIEWPOINT: "We expect GDP growth to lift back to around a 2.5 percent pace in the current quarter and through 2017," Shane Oliver and Diana Mousina of AMP Capital said in a commentary. "But despite our expectation that recession will be avoided and that growth will bounce back, growth is still likely to be fragile and constrained. In an ideal world now would be a time for some fiscal stimulus focussed on infrastructure spending."

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.7 percent to finish at 18,496.69. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.9 percent to 5,478.10. South Korea's Kospi was little changed, inching up 0.1 percent to 1,991.89. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.5 percent to 22,800.92, while the Shanghai Composite added 0.7 percent to 3,222.24. India's Sensex climbed 0.4 percent to 26,504.97.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 23 cents to $50.70 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, shed 27 cents to $53.66 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: In currencies, the euro fell to $1.0729 from $1.0781 the day before. The dollar rose to 114.17 yen from 113.89 yen.

(KA)