Stock market today: Global shares mostly rise on hopes for US rate cuts

TOKYO — Global shares were mostly higher on Wednesday after comments by Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell raised hopes for interest rate cuts.

Speaking at a conference of central bankers in Portugal a day earlier, Powell gave a nod to improvements in inflation data after some disappointingly high readings early in the year. Investors hope inflation will slow enough to convince the Fed to lower its main interest rate, which has been sitting at its highest level in more than two decades and pressing the brakes on the economy.

The U.S. stock market will have a shortened trading day on Wednesday before Thursday’s Fourth of July holiday.

The week’s most anticipated economic data will arrive on Friday, when the U.S. government reports the total jobs employers added in June.

Early Wednesday, France’s CAC 40 rose nearly 1.0% in early trading to 7,612.99. Germany’s DAX gained 0.6% to 18,276.99. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 0.6% to 8,169.20. The futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 edged 0.1% higher.

In Asian trading, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 1.3% to finish at 40,580.76. Among Tokyo technology-related shares, Kyocera Corp. jumped 3.1% while Murata Manufacturing Co. surged 6.4%.

“On the radar is Japan’s Nikkei, which may extend its run above the 40,000 level, with overnight strength in tech while the Japanese yen continues to trade at a 38-year low,” said Yeap Jun Rong, market analyst at IG.

The U.S. dollar rose to 161.83 Japanese yen on Wednesday from 161.44 yen late Tuesday. The euro cost $1.0761, up from $1.0743.

Elsewhere in Asia, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained nearly 0.3% to 7,739.90. South Korea’s Kospi edged up 0.5% to 2,794.01. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.2% to 17,978.57, while the Shanghai Composite index lost 0.5% to 2,982.38.

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 added 0.6%, topping its all-time high set two weeks ago. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4% and the Nasdaq composite added 0.8%, besting its own record set a day earlier.

Positive signs from Wall Street included Tesla’s jumping 10.2% after the electric-vehicle maker reported a milder drop in sales for the spring than analysts expected.

Crude oil prices have largely been rising on expectations for strong demand during the summer, as well as the possibility of hurricanes damaging oil production in the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Beryl is roaring through the Caribbean.

U.S. benchmark crude added 24 cents to $83.05 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 27 cents to $86.51 a barrel.

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