International markets roundup

A roundup of trading on major world markets:

NEW YORK - US stocks rose after the Federal Reserve kept its benchmark interest rate at near-zero per cent and gave no fresh clues on the timing of a long awaited rate hike.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 121.12 points, or 0.69 per cent, to 17,751.39.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 15.32 points, or 0.73 per cent, to 2,108.57 and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 22.53 points, or 0.44 per cent, to 5,111.73.

Stocks were in positive territory virtually the entire session, but added to gains after the Fed announcement.

The US central bank had been expected to keep interest rates unchanged, but some experts thought it might elaborate on its plans for monetary policy.

"We started off on the right foot and we didn't get anything negative from the Fed," said Michael James, managing director for equity trading at Wedbush Securities.

LONDON - Europe's main stock markets closed higher as traders reacted to a batch of strong company earnings updates ahead of the Federal Reserve's policy statement.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index gained 1.16 per cent to 6,631 points, the CAC 40 in Paris finished 0.81 per cent higher at 5,017.44 and Frankfurt's DAX 30 gained 0.34 per cent to 11,211.85.

Trading was lifted by positive corporate results across Europe, including encouraging numbers from pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, Barclays bank and French companies Peugeot and Total.

HONG KONG - Shanghai stocks recovered after plunging more than 11 per cent in the past three sessions, but there were mixed results for other Asian markets, with some unable to sustain a morning rally.

Buyers were given a healthy lead from Wall Street, which climbed on Tuesday for the first time after five sessions of losses as dealers waited on the US Federal Reserve policy meeting.

Shanghai closed up 3.44 per cent, or 126.17 points, at 3,789.17 on easing concerns about government measures to support share prices instituted at the start of the month to prevent a market meltdown.

Hong Kong rose 0.47 per cent, or 115.51 points, to 24,619.45, Tokyo ended 0.13 per cent, or 25.98 points, lower at 20,302.91 and Seoul was marginally down, shedding 1.48 points to 2,037.62.

WELLINGTON - New Zealand shares rose as a decline in the currency and the promise of lower interest rates boosted sentiment for equities.

Meridian Energy led the market higher, as Fisher & Paykel Healthcare rose to a record.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index advanced 22.37 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 5,870.76.


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