Fed rate wording boosts world stock markets

AP and AFP

HONG KONG–World stock markets powered higher Thursday, sweeping aside worries about a flagging global economy after the U.S. Federal Reserve said it would remain ��patient�� in its approach to raising interest rates.

France’s CAC-40 jumped 2.2 percent to 4,200.83 and Germany’s DAX surged 1.9 percent to 9,727.83. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 0.7 percent to 6,383.25. Wall Street was poised to extend Wednesday’s gains. Dow futures climbed 0.8 percent to 17,423 and S&P 500 futures rose 0.8 percent to 2,024.60.

The world’s most powerful central bank is edging closer to raising interest rates from record lows given a strengthening U.S. economy. But it will be ��patient�� in deciding when to do so. That was the message sent Wednesday as the Fed ended a meeting amid heightened expectation about a forthcoming rate increase.

Tokyo stocks jumped 2.55 percent. The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange tacked on 428.11 points to 17,247.84 by the break, while the Topix index of all first-section shares climbed 2.52 percent, or 34.08 points, to 1,386.09. Sony soared 4.37 percent to 2,468.5 yen a day after its Hollywood studio cancelled the Dec. 25 release of ��The Interview,�� a parody film that has angered North Korea and triggered threats against cinemas from hackers. Toyota jumped 3.47 percent to 7,391.0 yen, Canon rose 2.17 percent to 3,898.0 yen and market heavyweight Fast Retailing, operator of the Uniqlo clothing chain, rose 2.28 percent to 43,030.0 yen. Sydney jumped 0.95 percent, or 48.9 points, to close at 5,210.8. Hong Kong stocks rose 1.09 percent Thursday, boosted by bargain-buying and a rally on Wall Street after the U.S. Federal Reserve indicated interest rates would likely not be hiked until mid-2015. The benchmark Hang Seng Index added 246.37 points to 22,832.21 on turnover of HK$99.64 billion (US$12.85 billion), breaking a five-day losing streak. In mainland China the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index edged down 0.11 percent, or 3.50 points, at 3,057.52 following a four-day rally that saw it hit a four-year high. Turnover was 466.5 billion yuan (US$76.2 billion). The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China’s second exchange, fell 0.58 percent, or 8.68 points, to 1,484.26 on turnover of 254.4 billion yuan.