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Following Dow's jump, global markets rally

Japan's Nikkei index
AP Photo/Kyodo News

BANGKOK - Asian stock markets jumped Wednesday following a surge on Wall Street prompted by an unprecedented pledge from the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates super low for the next two years to help the ailing U.S. economy.

Oil prices rose to more than $81 a barrel, while the dollar slid against the yen and the euro.

The Dow Jones industrial average finished Tuesday with a 429-point gain after the Fed pledged to keep its key interest rate at its record low of nearly zero through the middle of 2013. The index dived 634.76 points the day before after Standard and Poor's cut the U.S. government's credit rating, sending shock waves through global markets.

The U.S. central bank also said it discussed "the range of policy tools" it can use to spur the economy.

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Martin Lakos, director of Sydney-based stockbroker Macquarie Private Wealth, said the Fed announcement was key to restoring some stability to the markets.

"Clearly yesterday there were rumors, speculation - whatever you like - the Federal Reserve would in fact come out with a positive announcement and that's clearly what they've done," Lakos told Australian Broadcasting Corp. television.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index climbed 1.2 percent to 9,047.05 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 3.7 percent to 20,042.81. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index rose 3.1 percent to 4,160.00.

Indexes in Taiwan, the Philippines and mainland China were also higher.

South Korea's Kospi, which at one point Tuesday plummeted nearly 10 percent, gained 1.8 percent to 1,832.98. Samsung Electronics, the top global manufacturer of flat screen televisions, memory chips and liquid crystal displays, gained 1.8 percent.

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