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Updated from 12:44 a.m. EDT

Asian stocks closed mostly higher Wednesday on speculation interest rates will be cut in Japan later this week and after stocks on Wall Street surged on an expected interest-rate cut from the

Federal Reserve


Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average closed 7.7% higher to 8211.90 after reports the said the Bank of Japan may lower rates to 0.25%. The index rose 6.4% on Tuesday.



reported a 72% decline in second-quarter earnings largely because of the strength of the yen during the period.

Shares of exporters, such as


(TM) - Get Free Report

, finished higher.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong rose less than 1%, while the S&P/ASX index in Australia closed up 1.3%. South Korea's Kospi closed down by 3%.

Stocks in Europe were mixed. The FTSE 100 index in London rose 4.9%. The DAX in Frankfurt fell 2.3%.

Stock futures in the U.S. were lower Wednesday after stocks soared on Tuesday to close with massive gains. The Federal Reserve is widely expected to cut interest rates when it meets Wednesday, but forecasts for the size of cut vary from 50 basis points to 75 basis points.

S&P 500

futures fell 18.90 points to 919.80, and were trading 19.74 points below fair value.


futures fell 28 points to 1280, and were 20.57 points below fair value.

On Tuesday, the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

surged 889.35 points, or 10.9%, to 9065.12, and the S&P 500 added 91.59 points, or 10.8%, to 940.51. The Nasdaq jumped 143.57 points, or 9.5%, to 1649.47.

The DJIA's rise marks the second biggest single-day point gain in the history of the index. It rose 936.42 points on Oct. 13.

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