World stocks rose Thursday as a holiday in China gave investors a break from its torrid markets while the dollar fell on diminishing expectations for a Federal Reserve rate hike this month.
KEEPING SCORE: In early European trading, France's CAC 40 was up 1.4 percent to 4,620.44 and Germany's DAX added 1.7 percent to 10,219.74. Britain's FTSE 100 gained 1.6 percent to 6,182.30. Futures augured more gains on Wall Street after the previous day's rebound from sharp losses. Dow futures rose 0.3 percent to 16,381.00. S&P 500 futures advanced 0.3 percent to 1,952.70.
CENTRAL BANKS: Attention is turning to the European Central Bank's meeting on Thursday as weak commodity prices and slowing global growth work against its efforts to stimulate inflation and economic growth. Some analysts think the ECB might need to expand its 1.1 trillion euro ($1.2 trillion) of quantitative easing to stoke inflation but most aren't expecting any tweaks to that policy to be announced imminently. The Fed, which has been inching toward its first rate hike since the 2008 financial crisis, is also flashing on the radar of investors as its policy meeting set for Sept. 16-17 approaches. Market expectations for a September rate hike have diminished because of signs of weakening global growth and the turbulent sell-off in Chinese stock markets.
THE QUOTE: "Market pricing for a rate hike at the Fed's September meeting is steadily being unwound: it now sits at 30 percent," said Angus Nicholson, market analyst at IG in Melbourne, Australia. "This may see an ebbing of strength in the US dollar as this repricing plays out," he said in a market commentary. "However, all bets are off for what will happen on Monday with the reopening of China's stock markets."
ASIAN SCORECARD: Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.5 percent to 18,182.39 and South Korea's Kospi was little changed at 1,915.13. Stock markets in Southeast Asia also rose while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 1.4 percent to 5,027.80. New Zealand's benchmark also fell. Taiwan's main index added 0.8 percent to 8,095.95 and India's Sensex jumped 1.3 percent to 25,783.21. Markets were closed in China, which has suffered a dramatic slide since June, and in Hong Kong.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude was down 33 cents at $45.92 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 84 cents to close at $46.25 a barrel in New York after an Energy Department report showed a decline in fuel supplies, which suggests rising demand. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, was down 16 cents at $50.36 a barrel in London. It rose 94 cents to close at $50.50 a barrel in the previous trading session.
CURRENCIES: The euro climbed to $1.1235 from $1.1216 on Wednesday. The dollar fell to 120.32 yen from 120.61 yen.