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World Shares Rise Ahead of Fed Decision12/19 05:58

   World stocks were mostly higher Wednesday ahead of an expected rate hike by 
the Federal Reserve, while Asian indexes were weighed by Japanese data that 
showed its exports slowing in November.

   SINGAPORE (AP) -- World stocks were mostly higher Wednesday ahead of an 
expected rate hike by the Federal Reserve, while Asian indexes were weighed by 
Japanese data that showed its exports slowing in November.

   KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Germany's DAX gained 0.1 percent to 10,756.02 and 
France's CAC 40 was 0.3 percent higher at 4,768.28. Britain's FTSE 100 index 
rose 0.4 percent to 6,727.83. Wall Street was set for an optimistic open. S&P 
500 futures rose 0.5 percent to 2,551.30 and Dow futures added 0.4 percent to 
23,710.00.

   ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 0.6 percent to 20,987.92 while 
South Korea's Kospi rose 0.8 percent to 2,078.84. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was 0.2 
percent higher at 25,865.39. The Shanghai Composite index shed 1.1 percent to 
2,549.56. Australia's S&P ASX 200 gave up 0.2 percent to 5,580.60. Shares were 
higher in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.

   FED DECISION: The Fed will likely hike its short-term interest rate after a 
meeting ends Wednesday. It is expected to raise the rate --- used as a 
benchmark for many consumer and business loans --- by a modest quarter point to 
a range of 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent. The central bank has forecast three 
more hikes in 2019, but investors doubt it would go as planned. Higher rates 
can slow economic growth and the U.S. economy is expected to cool off in 2019. 
China and Europe have also suggested that growth is slowing.

   ANALYST'S TAKE: "While U.S. economic signals are not flashing red ... many 
market participants believe the Fed should provide investors with some 
breathing room after higher interest rates coupled with tighter liquidly 
conditions have sent equity markets on a downward spiral since October," 
Stephen Innes of OANDA said in a commentary. "What is sure from my chair is the 
Fed will deliver a fourth rate hike for the year on cue, but what is entirely 
up in the air is which key cardinal point the meeting will shift to," he added.

   JAPANESE TRADE: On Wednesday, Japan reported that its trade balance in 
November was a deficit of 737.3 billion yen, from 450.1 billion yen in the 
previous month. This is its fourth deficit in last five months. The country's 
exports broadly slowed, partly due to weakening demand from China. Japanese 
exports rose 0.1 percent from a year earlier, as compared to October's 8.2 
percent gain. This fueled concerns about the impact of the US-China trade 
dispute on the world's third-largest economy.

   ENERGY: Oil prices bounced back slightly after plunging on worries about 
rising supplies and weakening global growth, which could weigh on demand. 
Benchmark U.S. crude gained 19 cents to $46.79 a barrel in electronic trading 
on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract, which has fallen almost 40 
percent since October, gave up $3.60 to $46.60 on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to 
price international oils, added 41 cents to $56.67 a barrel. It lost $3.35 to 
$56.26 a barrel in London.

   CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 112.36 yen from 112.52 yen in late 
trading Tuesday. The euro rose to $1.1403 from $1.1366. 


(BE)

 
 
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