World Stocks Pushed Higher By New Dow High

The Associated Press

LONDON (AP) a¿¿ World stocks mostly rose Friday as the Dow was set to close at another record high, but gains were kept in check by worries the Federal Reserve will cut its monetary stimulus soon.

Asian and European markets were roiled this week by Fed minutes suggesting the U.S. central bank will start reducing its $85 billion of monthly bond purchases in coming months.

The super-easy monetary has kept interest rates low to support economic recovery in the U.S. but also propelled money into higher yielding stocks. Frequent shifts in expectations about when the stimulus will be withdrawn have sparked gyrations in markets.

Stan Shamu, market strategist at IG in Melbourne, Australia said the "buoyant" performance of U.S. markets encouraged investors back into stocks even as the Fed guessing game remains on the radar.

In Europe, France's CAC 40 rose 0.6 percent to close at 4,278.53 while Germany's DAX gained 0.3 percent to 9,219.04. Britain's FTSE 100 edged down 0.1 percent to 6,674.30.

On Wall Street, with the S&P 500 rose 0.3 percent and the Dow 0.1 percent, putting it on track to close at a record high above 16,000 for the second day running.

Since the start of the year, the Dow blue chip index is up 22 percent, propelled higher by a combination of solid corporate earnings, a steadily strengthening economy and the Fed's monetary policy. If it holds onto those gains, it will have its best year since 2003. The Dow topped 14,000 in February and 15,000 in May.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average rose 0.1 percent to 15,381.72 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.5 percent to 23,696.28. Seoul's Kospi gained 0.6 percent to 2,006.23. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 jumped 0.9 percent to 5,335.90.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude for January delivery was down 81 cents at $94.64 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained $1.59 to close at $95.44 on Thursday after the U.S. government said monthly unemployment claims fell in a sign of an improving job market.

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