World stocks higher on last day of torrid quarter

Pedestrians walk in front of a share prices board at the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Sept. 30, 2015.


SEOUL, South Korea - Global stock markets bounced higher Wednesday, led by gains in Japan where investors were buoyed by expectations for more economic stimulus. But most stock benchmarks have lost ground for the quarter, weighed down by the prospect of higher U.S. interest rates and weak growth in many major economies.

Europe opened higher with Britain's FTSE 100 up 2.1 percent to 6,032.88. France's CAC 40 jumped 2.6 percent to 4,457.17 and Germany's DAX gained 2.5 percent to 9,686.39. The worst performing of those indexes, the DAX, is down 12.5 percent for the July-September quarter, which ends Wednesday.

Wall Street was set for big gains. Dow futures were up 1.1 percent. The Dow Jones industrials is down 8.8 percent in the past three months. S&P 500 futures gained 1.2 percent. The index is off 8.4 percent so far this quarter.

Tokyo stocks gained amid expectations for more monetary and fiscal stimulus following weakness in recent economic data. Domestic demand is tepid in the world's third-biggest economy and China's slowdown has also crimped Japanese exports. The quarterly Tankan business confidence survey due Thursday will show how businesses are feeling about the future, possibly providing a trigger for action from policymakers. Reports on China's manufacturing and services industries are also due Thursday.

"Japan will be inclined to boost both fiscal and monetary stimulus soon" if the risks of a slowdown in China do not fade in a few months, Mizuho Bank said in a daily note. "The real question is not if more stimulus may be expected, but rather, how much stimulus will be rolled out, and when."

Investors are waiting for jobs data and the top U.S. central banker's remarks for clues about when the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates. Policymakers have said they will likely raise interest rates before the end of the year. On Wednesday, U.S. payroll processor ADP reports how many jobs private employers added in September and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen gives opening remarks to a community banking conference.

Japan's Nikkei 225 surged 2.7 percent to 17,388.15 after sliding 4.1 percent on Tuesday amid a global market sell-off. It is down 13.5 percent for the quarter. China's Shanghai Composite Index was 0.5 percent higher at 3,052.78 but has lost 24.6 percent in three months. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index added 1.4 percent to 20,846.30 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 2.1 percent to 5,021.60. South Korea's stock market finished 1 percent higher at 1,962.81.

Benchmark crude fell 9 cents at $45.14 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 80 cents to close at $45.23 a barrel on Tuesday on expectations that the Energy Department will report a slowdown in U.S. crude production when it releases its monthly petroleum supply report. Brent Crude, a benchmark for international oils, added 7 cents to $48.72 a barrel in London.

The euro weakened to $1.1217 from $1.1252 on Tuesday. The dollar rose to 120.27 yen from 119.86 yen.