World Stocks Rise After Fed Chair Downplays Bigger Rate Hike

BEIJING (AP) -- Global stocks rose Thursday after the Federal Reserve chairman downplayed the likelihood of bigger interest rate hikes following the U.S. central bank's biggest increase in two decades.

London and Frankfurt opened higher on their first trading day since Fed chair Jerome Powell's comments. Shanghai and Sydney advanced while Hong Kong ended lower. Markets in Japan and South Korea were closed for holidays.

Wall Street futures were lower a day after the benchmark S&P 500 gained 3% for its biggest one-day increase in two years.

The Fed raised its key interest rate Wednesday by half a percentage point, or double its usual margin. But Powell said the U.S. central bank is "not actively considering" a bigger increase.

"The Fed continues to try and orchestrate a soft landing while tackling high levels of inflation," said David Chao of Invesco in a report.

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London jumped 1.2% to 7,583.72. Frankfurt's DAX surged 1.6% to 14,196.71. The CAC 40 in Paris added 1.8% to 6,507.98.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 future was off 0.8% and that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.5%.

On Wednesday, the Dow jumped 2.8% and the Nasdaq composite climbed 3.2%.

The Fed raised its key rate to a range of 0.75% to 1%, the highest point since the coronavirus pandemic struck two years ago.

Powell's comments appeared to be aimed at easing fears the Fed, which was accused of reacting too slowly as inflation surged last year, might be headed for an unusually large rate hike of three-quarters of a percentage point at its June meeting.

Investors worry about whether the Fed can extinguish inflation without pushing the economy into a downturn.

The Fed announced details of how it will start reducing its holdings of Treasury debt and mortgage-backed securities. The central bank has been buying bonds to pump money into the financial system and push down long-term interest rates.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.7% to 3,067.76 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.4% to 20,793.40 after spending most of the day in positive territory.

Hikvision Digital Technology Co., a maker of video surveillance equipment, fell by the daily limit of 10% on the Shanghai exchange after The Financial Times reported U.S. officials are considering adding the Chinese company to a list of restricted entities that Americans are prohibited from dealing with for security reasons.

Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 advanced 0.8% to 7,364.70 and India's Sensex gained 0.3% to 55,854.82. New Zealand gained while Singapore and Bangkok declined.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude fell 2 cents to $107.79 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract jumped $5.40 to $107.81 on Wednesday. Brent crude, the price basis for international oils, advanced 22 cents to $110.36 per barrel in London. It surged $5.17 the previous session to $110.14.

The dollar climbed to 129.72 Japanese yen from Wednesday's 128.87 yen. The euro declined to $1.0599 from $1.0613.