Global Stocks Gain After Fed Hike

Global Stocks Gain After Fed Hike

BEIJING (AP) -- Global stocks rose Thursday following a U.S. rate hike and a Eurosceptic party's defeat in Dutch elections.

KEEPING SCORE: In early trading, Germany's DAX jumped 1.1 percent to 12,147.64 and France's CAC-40 rose 0.8 percent to 5,028.16. London's FTSE 100 gained 0.6 percent to 7,410.92. On Wall Street, the future for the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.3 percent and that for the Standard & Poor's 500 gained 0.2 percent.

ASIA'S DAY: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index advanced 0.1 percent to 19,590.14 and the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.8 percent to 3,268.94. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 2.1 percent to 24,288.28 and Seoul's Kospi rose 0.8 percent to 2,150.08. India's Sensex climbed 0.5 percent to 29,541.64 and benchmarks in New Zealand, Taiwan and Singapore also rose. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.2 percent to 5,785.80.

U.S. RATE HIKE: The Fed raised short-term interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point, its third such move since late 2015. The move was widely expected. The central bank stressed that it plans to move gradually and stuck to its projection that it will raise rates a total of three times this year. That cooled speculation among some investors that the Fed could move more aggressively.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "The Fed took off as expected but left the market with a more 'gradual' view with regards to future rate hikes," said Jingyi Pan of IG in a report. "Comments by Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen in her press conference had been perceived as dovish. The Fed chair had reiterated that the committee expects a 'gradual increase' in rates on the back of evolving economic conditions and monetary policy 'remains accommodative' at present."

DUTCH ELECTIONS: Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte's party won a parliamentary election victory over anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders in the year's first test for populism in Europe. Following Britain's vote to leave the European Union and Donald Trump's election as U.S. president, "the Netherlands said, 'Whoa!' to the wrong kind of populism," said Rutte. Wilders campaigned on pledges to close borders to migrants from Muslim nations, close mosques, ban the Quran and take the Netherlands out of the EU.

CHINA FOLLOWS THE FED: China's central bank raised a short-term interest rate on lending to banks but left its benchmark rate unchanged following the U.S. increase. The People's Bank of China hiked the rate for its six-month and one-year medium-term lending facility and open-market repurchase operations by 0.1 percent. The benchmark one-year commercial lending rate was unchanged. The bank cited the U.S. Federal Reserve's Wednesday rate hike and improved Chinese economic conditions.

HONG KONG FOLLOWS THE FED: Hong Kong's central bank copied the Fed by raising its benchmark lending rate by one-quarter point to 1.25 percent. The Hong Kong currency is pegged to the dollar, which means the Hong Kong Monetary Authority copies U.S. monetary policy.

JAPAN STANDS PAT: Japan's central bank held monetary policy steady as the Fed and Europe's central bank move toward tightening. The Bank of left its benchmark lending rate unchanged at minus 0.1 percent and said it would work toward a 2 percent inflation rate target. The central bank is buying about 80 trillion yen ($700 billion) a year of Japanese government bonds to inject cash into the economy. The BOJ said the world's third-largest economy was on a "moderate recovery trend."

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 60 cents to $49.46 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract soared $1.14 on Wednesday to $48.86. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 57 cents to $52.38. It gained 89 cents the previous session to $51.81.

CURRENCY: The dollar weakened to 113.29 yen from Wednesday's 113.38 yen. The euro edged down to $1.0719 from $1.0732.

(KA)