LONDON - Rising expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will not raise interest rates this year shored up global markets Friday, helping many of the world's major indexes trade near multi-week highs.
At 8:10 a.m. ET in Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.5 percent at 6,367, while Germany's DAX rose 0.2 percent to 10,087. France's CAC 40 gained 0.4 percent to trade at 4,693. U.S. stocks were poised for a subdued opening following sizeable gains on Thursday. Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures were down 0.1 percent.
Stocks around the world have enjoyed one of their best weeks in ages as traders think a disappointing run of U.S. economic data may mean the Fed won't raise its main interest rate for the first time in more than nine years in December. Figures Thursday showing minimal inflation pressures in the U.S. served to reinforce that view.
The Fed has an interest rate policy meeting in late-October, and the markets will be keen to get a clearer message about its intentions. Near-zero percent U.S. interest rates have been one of the main supporters of stocks markets over the past few years.
"There are significant doubts emerging that the Federal Reserve will even be able to consider raising rates this year," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 added 1.1 percent to 18,292. But South Korea's Kospi inched down nearly 0.2 percent to 2,030. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.8 percent to 23,067, while the Shanghai Composite in mainland China was up 1.6 percent at 3,391.
Japanese shares were buoyed further by expectations that the country's central bank will come up with more stimulus measures this month or next month. That helped send the Nikkei higher.
Benchmark U.S. crude added 38 cents to $46.76 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oil, rose 23 cents to $49.96.
The euro fell 0.2 percent to $1.1347, while the dollar rose 0.1 percent to 119.07 yen.