World Markets Mostly Higher on Trump’s Safe Pick to Lead Fed

HONG KONG (AP) -
A man walks past an electronic stock board showing the Hang Seng Index at a bank in Hong Kong, Friday. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Most world stock markets were higher Friday as investors welcomed news that the next Fed chief will be Jerome Powell, seen as a safe choice ensuring continuity at the world’s most influential central bank.

European shares were mostly higher in early trading. Germany’s DAX added 0.4 percent to 13,493.52 and Britain’s FTSE 100 climbed 0.3 percent to 7,578.30. France’s CAC 40 was nearly flat at 5,509.88. Wall Street was poised to open higher, with Dow futures up 0.1 percent to 23,471.00 and broader S&P 500 futures edging up less than 0.1 percent to 2,578.10.

President Donald Trump chose Fed Governor Powell to lead the Federal Reserve after current Chair Janet Yellen’s term ends in February. Powell, a policymaker at the U.S. central bank since 2012, is expected to follow Yellen’s cautious approach to raising interest rates. His selection wasn’t a surprise for Wall Street, which had him as the front-runner.

Markets are assessing the $1.5 trillion tax-cut plan unveiled by U.S. House Republicans. Under the plan, corporate rates will be cut, personal rates for most Americans will be lowered and some prized deductions will be reduced or eliminated. Attention was also turning to the latest U.S. payroll and unemployment data due out later in the day and its implications for the Fed’s interest rate policy.

Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng index rose 0.3 percent to finish at 28,603.61 while the Shanghai Composite in mainland China lost 0.3 percent to 3,371.74. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.5 percent to 2,557.97 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.5 percent to 5,959.90. Southeast Asian benchmarks were mostly lower but Taiwan’s index rose. Japan markets were shut for a bank holiday, which thinned Asian trading volumes.

The dollar climbed to 114.11 yen from 114.08 yen in late trading Thursday. The euro slipped to $1.1642 from $1.1659.

Oil futures extended gains. U.S. benchmark crude oil rose 36 cents to $54.90 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 24 cents to settle at $54.54 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, picked up 43 cents to $61.05 a barrel in London.