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Global shares higher despite lower IMF growth forecast

TOKYO - Global stock markets rose Wednesday, taking in stride the IMF's lower global growth forecast, as oil prices extended a rebound.

France's CAC 40 added 0.9 percent to 4,703.65. Germany's DAX gained 1.3 percent to 10,035.70. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.8 percent to 6,377.63.

U.S. shares were set to rise, with both S&P 500 and Dow futures up 0.6 percent.

Benchmark U.S. crude was up $1.10 at $49.63 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange on expectations a supply glut will ease. The contract jumped $2.27 to close at $48.53 a barrel on Tuesday in New York. Brent Crude, a benchmark for international oils, was up 79 cents at $53.24 a barrel in London. "Oil markets are firming up as incremental supply side responses pile up," CMC's chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said in a report.

China's slowdown and tumbling commodity prices will push global economic growth this year to the lowest level since the 2009 recession, the International Monetary Fund says. The fund forecasts the world economy to grow 3.1 percent this year, down from a July forecast of 3.3 percent and from 3.4 percent growth last year. The IMF expects Chinese economic growth to drop to a 25-year low 6.8 percent this year, but that is unchanged from its July forecast.

"Market reaction to the IMF's latest report is rather muted, although it will likely weigh on sentiments in the longer term," said IG market strategist Bernard Aw in Singapore. "It is no secret that the IMF wants the Fed to delay its planned rate hike until next year. And the economic undercurrents increasingly lean toward that direction."

Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 0.8 percent to 18,322.98 and South Korea's Kospi gained 0.8 percent at 2,005.84. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 3.1 percent to 22,515.76. China's markets are closed until Thursday. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.6 percent to 5,197.90. Benchmarks in Taiwan and Southeast Asia rose.

Shares of Samsung Electronics closed up nearly 9 percent, marking its biggest daily gain since January 2009, after announcing a forecast-beating profit for the third quarter. The South Korean company estimated that July-September operating profit was 7.3 trillion won ($6.3 billion), an increase of 80 percent from a year earlier. Expectations that Samsung would adopt a more favorable shareholder return policy helped boost the shares as well.

The Bank of Japan ended a policy board meeting with no change to its already lavish policy of monetary stimulus. There was market speculation the BOJ would announce new stimulus measures but many economists didn't expect a move at Wednesday's meeting. Japan's economy may slip into recession again this quarter, jeopardizing government and central bank plans to generate 2 percent inflation and end economic stagnation.

The dollar was trading at 120.01 yen, down from 120.26 yen on Tuesday. The euro fell to $1.1248 from $1.1268.

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