Global Markets Higher Ahead of US Inflation, Fed Rates Decision

BEIJING (AP) -- Global stock markets and Wall Street futures rose Tuesday ahead of a U.S. inflation update and a Federal Reserve decision on another possible interest rate hike.

London and Paris opened higher. Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong advanced. Oil prices rebounded from Monday's plunge.

Wall Street's benchmark S&P 500 index rose 0.9% on Monday to a 14-month high ahead of the release of U.S. inflation figure Tuesday. Forecasters expect it to show inflation eased in May but still was double the Fed's 2% target despite interest rate hikes to cool business activity.

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 future was up 0.3%. That for the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained less than 0.1%.

Traders hope the Fed will skip another rate increase when its monthly board meeting ends Wednesday, but that might be complicated if inflation is higher than expected. Central banks in Europe and Japan also are due to meet this week to discuss possible rate hikes.

The Fed's benchmark lending rate is at a 16-year high, which has led to a contraction in manufacturing activity and three high-profile bank failures.

"The bull market rally looks like it doesn't want to stop," said Edward Moya of Oanda in a report. "Wall Street appears confident that the Fed will not be delivering its 11th straight rate hike this week."

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.1% to 7,580.12 and the CAC 40 in Paris advanced 0.6% to 7,290.47. The DAX in Frankfurt gained 0.4% to 16,155.17.

High-growth stocks, seen by investors as some of the biggest beneficiaries of lower rates, led the market Monday. Tech stocks alone accounted for more than half the S&P 500's gain, powered by gains of at least 1.5% for both Microsoft and Apple.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.2% to 3,233.67 after China's central bank lowered its one-week lending rate for the first time since last summer. That appeared to reflect official concern about the health of China's economic recovery after growth in factory and consumer activity weakened.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo surged 1.8% to 33,018.65 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong advanced 0.6% to 19,521.42.

The Kospi in South Korea added 0.3% to 2,637.95 and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 was 0.2% higher at 7,138.90.

New Zealand and Bangkok advanced. Singapore and Jakarta declined.

Forecasters expect Tuesday's inflation update to show U.S. consumer prices rose 4.1% over a year earlier last month. That would be down from April's 4.9% and last June's peak above 9% but more than double the Fed target of 2%.

Two Fed board members have said the Fed should hold off on a rate increase this week while it gathers data on the impact of previous hikes.

On Monday, Switzerland's UBS said it has completed its takeover of rival Credit Suisse in a government-arranged rescue combining the country's two largest banks.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 42 cents to $67.54 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $3.05 on Monday to $67.12. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trade, gained 66 cents to $72.50 per barrel in London. It lost $2.95 the previous session to $71.84.

The dollar rose to 139.78 yen from Monday's 139.62 yen. The euro advanced to $1.0802 from $1.0756.