Global Markets Higher Wednesday

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Global stock markets were mostly higher in subdued trading on Wednesday as investors awaited the Fed's latest meeting minutes, hoping for clues to the U.S. central bank's views on interest rates.

KEEPING SCORE: European markets started higher with Britain's FTSE 100 up 0.3 percent at 7,297.41. France's CAC 40 gained 0.3 percent to 4,905.00 and Germany's DAX also rose 0.3 percent to 11,997.72. Wall Street looked set for a lackluster start, with S&P futures flat and Dow futures up 0.1 percent.

UPWARD MOMENTUM: Though trading was cautious ahead of the release of the Fed's minutes, stocks were breaking records again on Tuesday as the market resumed its climb after a holiday break. Energy companies are rising with the price of oil. Consumer goods giant Kraft Heinz fell after it withdrew a $143 billion offer for competitor Unilever, but other food and household goods makers rose as investors bet Kraft will make an offer for one of those companies instead.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "U.S. equity investors returned from the Presidents Day holiday in a very bubbly mood as both the S&P 500 and Dow Industrials closed in on record territory again," Stephen Innes of OANDA said in a commentary. But he added, "the stage is indeed set for the Feds to come out firing on all cylinders this week, so it would be wise to tread cautiously until the airwaves clear."

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 finished flat at 19,379.87, while South Korea's Kospi added 0.2 percent to 2,106.61. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index jumped 1 percent to 24,201.96 and the Shanghai Composite Index inched up 0.2 percent to 3,261.22. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.2 percent to 5,805.10. Stocks in Southeast Asia finished mostly higher.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 32 cents to $54.01 per barrel in New York. The contract rose 55 cents to close at $54.33 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 31 cents to $56.45 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 113.14 yen from 113.57 yen. The euro fell to $1.0510 from $1.0546.

(KA)