Global stocks mostly up on stimulus outlook
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Global stock markets were mostly higher Monday after top central bankers in Europe and Japan said support for their economies would continue and additional help is possible.
KEEPING SCORE: Germany's DAX advanced 1 percent to 9,434.34 and France' CAC 40 rose 0.9 percent to 4,289.95. Hopes of stimulus in France were boosted by President Francois Hollande's dissolution of his government after an open feud in his Cabinet over the country's stagnant economy. London's stock market was closed for a public holiday. Wall Street was set for gains, with S&P futures and Dow Jones futures both up 0.3 percent.
DRAGHI'S BOOST: Europe's top central banker said the bank is considering asset purchases to pump more money into Europe's economy, though he gave no guidance on when that help would happen. Mario Draghi, head of the European Central Bank, said in a speech at Jackson Hole, Wyoming on Friday that the bank was ready to do more to boost the eurozone's shaky recovery. His remarks sent European shares higher and the euro currency lower.
EASY JAPAN: Bank of Japan chief Haruhiko Kuroda told reporters at the Jackson Hole gathering of central bankers that Japan's central bank planned to continue its "extremely accommodative monetary stance" until inflation has risen to the bank's 2 percent target and stays there. His statement that the bank can expand support if necessary pushed the Nikkei 225 index higher.
ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.5 percent to 15,613.25. South Korea's Kospi inched up 0.2 percent to 2,060.89. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.2 percent to 25,166.91 but China's Shanghai Composite index fell 0.5 percent to 2,229.27. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.2 percent to 5,634.90.
YELLEN'S SPEECH: At Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen said the Great Recession complicated the Fed's ability to assess the U.S. job market and made it harder to determine when to adjust interest rates that are currently at super-low levels. Yellen offered no signal that she's altered her view that the economy still needs support from the Fed. That toned down expectations that the U.S. central bank would act soon to raise interest rates. Yellen, however, also said that if improvement in employment continues to be more rapid than forecast then the Fed might have to raise rates sooner than it currently expects.
DATA POINTS: This week's calendar is heavy with economic data from the U.S. and Japan. In the U.S., quarterly gross domestic product will be released on Thursday, giving investors a new update on the health of the world's largest economy. Mizuho Bank forecast that the U.S. economic growth would be revised down to 3.9 percent in the second from 4 percent as consumer spending slightly slowed. Japan will release monthly unemployment and inflation figures on Friday.
CURRENCIES: The greenback gained ground after Yellen's speech and a Russian aid convoy's entry into Ukraine that drew condemnation from the West. The euro fell to $1.3199 from $1.3242 late Friday. The dollar rose to 104.02 yen from 103.96 yen.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude for October delivery was down 4 cents to $93.61 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude rose 28 cents to $102.57 the ICE exchange in London.