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World Stocks Mostly Higher Wednesday   07/26 06:05

   World stock markets were mostly higher Wednesday, lifted by another record 
day on Wall Street and buoyant oil prices.

   HONG KONG (AP) -- World stock markets were mostly higher Wednesday, lifted 
by another record day on Wall Street and buoyant oil prices. Investors were 
keeping a cautious eye on the Fed's upcoming interest rate decision.

   KEEPING SCORE: European shares rose in early trading. France's CAC 40 added 
0.7 percent to 5,196.27 and Germany's DAX climbed 0.4 percent to 12,309.31. 
Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.6 percent to 7,477.89. U.S. shares were poised to 
open higher. Dow futures were up 0.1 percent to 21,581.00 and broader S&P 500 
futures edged up 0.1 percent to 2,476.10.

   FED IN FOCUS: The U.S. central bank's policymaking committee is holding a 
two-day meeting, where most analysts expect officials to keep rates unchanged. 
The Fed has already raised rates three times since December and market watchers 
don't expect another hike until later this year or in 2018.

   ANALYST VIEW: "Today's FOMC meeting is likely to be a non-event," said 
Lukman Otunuga, an analyst at FXTM. "Investors most probably will use this 
opportunity to closely scrutinize the policy statement for clues on the Federal 
Reserve's tightening plan," he said, adding that markets will also be looking 
for hints on how the Fed plans to reduce its massive $4.5 billion in bond 
holdings and its view on inflation.

   EARNINGS SEASON: Investors are assessing the latest round of quarterly 
earnings reports. Better than expected profits at U.S. companies like 
McDonald's and Caterpilllar helped propel Wall Street to another record day. In 
Asia, Nintendo Co.'s Switch hybrid game machine helped the Japanese video-game 
maker swing into a $190 million profit, reversing from a loss from the previous 
year. South Korean auto maker Hyundai Motor's quarterly profit fell by half 
because of weakness in its SUV lineup.

   ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index climbed 0.5 percent to close 
at 20,050.16 but South Korea's Kospi index slipped 0.2 percent to 2,434.51. 
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index added 0.3 percent to 26,941.02 and the Shanghai 
Composite index edged up 0.1 percent to 3,247.67. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 
rallied 0.9 percent to 5,776.60. India's Sensex gained 0.3 percent to 32,338.57 
and benchmarks in Southeast Asia were mostly higher.

   ENERGY: Oil futures extended gains in Asian trading. Benchmark U.S. crude 
added 37 cents to $48.26 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York 
Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.55, or 3.3 percent, to settle at 
$47.89 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 
35 cents to $50.71 a barrel in London.

   CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 111.86 yen from 111.91 yen late Tuesday. 
The euro slipped to $1.1624 from $1.1649.


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