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Updated from 12:51 a.m. EST

Asian stocks closed higher Wednesday, but shares in Europe were trading lower and futures in the U.S. indicate a decline at the open for Wall Street stocks as Barack Obama was elected the 44th president of the U.S.

Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average finished higher by 4.5% to 9521.24, as shares of energy companies and exporters, such as


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(SNE) - Get Sony Corp. Report

, rose on a weaker yen.

The Hang Seng index closed 3.2% higher, while the S&P/ASX 200 index in Australia rose 2.9%.


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, Hong Kong's largest fixed-line operator, rose as the company's chairman, Richard Li, offered to take the company private in a $2 billion buyout offer.

Stocks in Europe were lower for the first time in seven days. The FTSE 100 index fell 2%, while the DAX in Frankfurt fell 1.3%

Stock futures in the U.S. reversed earlier gains that were made shortly after major news organizations declared Obama the winner of the U.S. presidential election and his opponent John McCain conceded defeat.

S&P 500

futures fell 13.20 points to 990, and were trading 14.54 points below fair value.


futures fell 18.50 points to 1362, and were 18.34 points below fair value.

Stocks in New York closed with healthy gains Tuesday as traders sorted through some encouraging quarterly earnings reports and polls across the nation opened for the U.S. presidential election.


Dow Jones Industrial Average

gained 305.45 points, or 3.3%, to 9625.28, and the S&P 500 climbed 39.45 points, or 4.1%, to 1005.75. The Nasdaq tacked on 53.79 points, or 3.1%, to 1780.12.

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