• Stock markets rise ahead of Fed rate decision

    By: NICOLA SHANNON, Associated Press

    Updated:
    TOKYO (AP) - Global stocks rose Wednesday as investors awaited an expected interest rate increase from the Federal Reserve and looked for hints of further hikes this year.

    KEEPING SCORE: France's CAC 40 was up 0.3 percent at 5,468 and Germany's DAX rose 0.2 percent to 12,868. Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.5 percent to 7,741. U.S. shares were set to edge higher, with Dow futures up 0.1 percent and S&P 500 futures 0.2 percent higher.

    CENTRAL BANKS: The U.S. Federal Reserve was to resume a two-day meeting on interest rates later Wednesday. Investors expect the central bank to raise its benchmark rate by a quarter of a percentage point to a range of 1.75-2 percent. Attention will focus more on how many additional rate hikes Fed officials may do this year. On Thursday, the European Central Bank will meet and could outline an end to its stimulus program, while on Friday the Bank of Japan is due to give its latest policy update.

    TRUMP-KIM SUMMIT: U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un concluded their summit Tuesday by committing to working "toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" and to "build a lasting and stable peace regime" there. Trump surprised both the Pentagon and the South Korean military by promising to end U.S. military exercises with South Korea. Details were left vague, but progress there has the chance of lowering geopolitical tensions in a region that includes three of the world's largest economies: Japan, China and South Korea.

    ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 was up 0.4 percent at 22,966.38. South Korea's Kospi fell less than 0.1 percent to 2,468.83. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 1.2 percent to 30,725.15, while the Shanghai Composite index dropped 1.0 percent to 3,049.80. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 0.5 percent to 6,023.50.

    ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 34 cents to $66.02 a barrel. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 22 cents to $75.66 per barrel in London.

    CURRENCY: The dollar rose to 110.54 yen from 110.30 late Tuesday. The euro fell slightly to $1.1763 from $1.1800.

    ___

    Follow Nicola Shannon on Twitter at https://twitter.com/nicolavshannon

    Her work can be found at https://www.apnews.com/search/Nicola%20Shannon

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