World Markets Climb, Tracking Profit-Driven Gains on Wall St

BANGKOK (AP) -- Shares advanced in Europe and Asia on Wednesday after Wall Street rallied to its best day in more than three weeks as companies reported strong profits for the past quarter.

Germany's DAX edged 0.1% higher to 13,318.21 while the CAC 40 in Paris also gained 0.1% to 6,210.15. Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.3% to 7,317.04. On Wall Street, the futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow industrials were 0.2% higher.

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 climbed 2.8% while the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 2.4%. The Nasdaq roared 3.1% higher while the Russell 2000 surged 3.5%.

"The bear market rally looks well and truly back on track this week," Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary.

Investors are watching for signs that decades-high inflation may be peaking, he said, as major central bank meet and companies release another batch of corporate earnings.

The European Central Bank is expected to raise interest rates on Thursday for the first time in 11 years in hopes of knocking down high inflation.

Japan's central bank also meets this week but is not expected to make any major policy changes.

China's central bank kept its loan prime rate steady on Wednesday despite the latest data showing a significant slowdown in growth in the past quarter, when pandemic-related shutdowns in many cities idled businesses and other activity.

"This comes as economic reopening continues to take place albeit at a slower pace, potentially leading to some near-term wait-and-see on economic progress before delivering further cuts ahead," Jun Rong Yeap of IG said in a commentary.

The Federal Reserve has already raised rates three times this year, and by increasing amounts each time. It will announce its next increase next week, and the only question among investors is whether it will go with another increase of 0.75 percentage points or a colossal hike of a full point.

Stocks have sagged this year on worries about rising interest rates and high inflation. Strong earnings would provide a major support for markets. But if CEOs warn about troubles ahead, another tumble may be on the way.

Tesla was among the companies due to release quarterly earnings on Wednesday.

In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 jumped 2.7% to 27,680.26, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 1.1% to 20,890.22. In Seoul, the Kospi added 0.7% to 2,386.85. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 climbed 1.7% to 6,759.20, while the Shanghai Composite index rose 0.8% to 3,304.72.

Shares also rose in India and Taiwan.

In other trading, U.S. benchmark crude oil lost $1.17 to $99.57 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained $1.32 to $100.74 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, the international standard for pricing, lost $1.07 to $106.28 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar rose to 138.25 Japanese yen from 138.18 yen. The euro strengthened to $1.0234 from $1.0231.