Global Shares Rise After Wall Street Rallies to Records

TOKYO (AP) -- Global benchmarks were mostly higher on Thursday after U.S. stocks rallied to records following indications from the Federal Reserve that it expects to deliver interest rate cuts later this year.

France's CAC 40 rose 0.5% in morning trading to 8,199.57, while Germany's DAX edged up 0.8% to 18,159.77. Britain's FTSE 100 surged nearly 1.2% to 7,829.19. U.S. shares were set to drift higher with Dow futures up 0.4% at 40,081.00. S&P 500 futures rose 0.4% to 5,309.50.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 jumped 2.0% to finish at a record high 40,815.66 after the government reported exports grew nearly 8% in February from a year earlier, in the third straight month of increase.

Shipments of cars and electrical machinery increase, helping to trim the trade deficit to about half of what it was a year earlier, at 379 billion yen ($2.5 billion).

Hong Kong's benchmark surged 1.9%, to 16,863.10, while the Shanghai Composite fell less than 0.1% to 3,077.11, after the Chinese government announced fresh measures to support the economy.

Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 added 1.1% to 7,782.00. South Korea's Kospi gained 2.4% to 2,754.86.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 jumped 0.9% to 5,224.62, an all-time high for a second straight day. The Dow industrials surged 1% and the Nasdaq composite roared 1.3% higher.

The Federal Reserve's survey of its policy makers showed the central bank still expects to deliver three cuts to interest rates in 2024. That's the same number as they had penciled in three months earlier, and expectations for the relief that such cuts would provide are a big reason U.S. stock prices have set records.

The Fed has been keeping its main interest rate at its highest level since 2001 to grind down inflation. High rates slow the overall economy by making borrowing more expensive and by hurting prices for investments.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said he noticed the last two months' worse-than-expected reports, but they "haven't really changed the overall story, which is that of inflation moving down gradually on a sometimes bumpy road towards 2%. That story hasn't changed."

In other trading early Thursday, benchmark U.S. crude rose 40 cents to $81.67 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, added 41 cents to $86.36 a barrel.

The U.S. dollar rose to 151.34 Japanese yen from 151.26 yen. The euro cost $1.0892, down from $1.0925.