Global stock markets rose Wednesday amid optimism about the telecommunications industry and as investors expect more central bank stimulus in the eurozone.
KEEPING SCORE: France’s CAC 40 added 0.9 percent to 4,671 while Germany’s DAX was up 1.5 percent at 10,935. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 1.5 percent to 6,884. U.S. shares were set to drift slightly higher, with Dow and S&P 500 futures inching up almost 0.1 percent.
TRUMP TELECOMS: Shares in technology investor SoftBank jumped 6.2 percent in Tokyo after its CEO met with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and announced that the Japanese company, which owns the majority of Sprint, plans to invest $50 billion in the U.S. to create 50,000 jobs. Sprint added 1.5 percent and T-Mobile gained about 2 percent, amid speculation T-Mobile it could be acquired, possibly by SoftBank.
EUROPE STIMULUS: Investors are also preparing for the European Central Bank to expand its bond-buying stimulus program on Thursday. The central bank is expected to extend the duration beyond the current end-date of March. The program aims to push up growth and inflation, buoying stock markets.
AUSTRALIA: The Australian economy contracted 0.5 percent in the September quarter in the first quarterly decline since early 2011, the government said Wednesday. A contraction in the current quarter would put the country in a technical recession for the first time in 25 years. Annual growth was 1.8 percent. The bigger-than-expected contraction raised hopes for possible stimulus measures.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.7 percent to finish at 18,496.69. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.9 percent to 5,478.10. South Korea’s Kospi was little changed, inching up 0.1 percent to 1,991.89. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.5 percent to 22,800.92, while the Shanghai Composite added 0.7 percent to 3,222.24. India’s Sensex climbed 0.4 percent to 26,504.97.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 10 cents to $51.03 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 8 cents to $54.01 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: In currencies, the euro fell to $1.0728 from $1.0781 the day before. The dollar rose to 113.97 yen from 113.89 yen.