European stock markets were mixed. In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 fell 4.9 points, or 0.12%, to 4,180.7, as the number of people claiming jobless benefits unexpectedly fell for the second consecutive month in July. At same time, the Bank of England cut its inflation forecast.
In Germany, the DAX Index gained 17.18 points, or 0.51%, to 3,398.89 after the German cabinet approves tax cuts and welfare reductions in a bid to revive the economy and reduce unemployment. Schroeder said the economy might growth more than the 2% forecast for 2004. In France, the CAC 40 edged down 0.17 point to 3,208.6.
In Asia, major stock indexes finished higher. Japan's Nikkei index finished up 187.94 points, or 1.96%, to close at 9752.75. The positive effect of Tuesday's second-quarter GDP result -- up 2.3% annualized -- remained, plus players in Tokyo were encouraged by overnight gains on Wall Street as well as the Fed's statement suggested the Fed would not be in a hurry of raising interest rates. Major bank and tech stocks rallied.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 117.30 points, or 1.15%, to close at 10,301.47.
Canada's benchmark S&P/TSX rose 18.26 points, or 0.25%, to 7,372.28.