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Wall Street Pre-bell Quiet, Europe Trading Up Lightly; Futures Red; Asian Closed Higher

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Wall Street pre-bell Wednesday is surprisingly tepid following Tuesday's big rally, and then big overnight gains in Asia. But U.S. stock index futures are showing red arrows, and Europe is trading only modestly higher. Oil is above $33 a barrel.

On the economic calendar at 7:00 am ET is MBA mortgage index, then at 8:15 the ADP employment change. The much-watched crude oil inventories comes out at 10:30, and then at 2:00 pm the U.S. Federal Reserve's Beige Book, an economic review and window into Fed thinking.

Reporting earnings pre-bell and possibly setting tone for the day include beverage company Brown-Forman (BFA) and retailer Abercrombie & Fitch ( ANF ).

In Europe, the British FTSE is up 0.19%; the French CAC 40 is up 0.36%; the German Dax is up 0.22% and the Euronext 100 is up 0.08%.

In the futures, the S&P 500 is off 0.24%; the Nasdaq is off 0.13%; and the Dow is down 0.23%.

Asian markets surged upwards Wednesday, as traders eyed the overnight gains on Wall Street, spurred by the better-than-expected ISM February reading of 49.5, which though still in negative territory was better than the street consensus of 48.5. A Shanghai bull underlined sentiments, and Tokyo rallied on a softer yen. Mumbai sported a strong rally as well, on hopes of rate cuts by the Reserve Bank of India.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 jumped 4.11% on the Wall Street gains, a bull market in Shanghai, and a softer yen, the latter considered a positive in export-oriented Japan.

The broad measure Nikkei 225 rose 661.04 to 16,746.55, as gaining issues topped losers 220 to three.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index rose 3.07%, as traders became buyers in the morning session following Wall Street's Tuesday overnight rally, and then stayed as Shanghai markets rose more than 4%. Declining fears of a global slowdown, and hopes for mainland China stimulus and economic reforms added to sentiments, said analysts.

The broad gauge Hang Seng rose 596.03 to 20,003,49, as all 50 issues gained.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Stock Exchange composite (SHCOMP) rose 4.26% to 2,849.68.

In Mumbai, the Sensex closed up 1.93% on heavy buying in banking stocks on hopes of the Reserve Bank of India easing capital requirements. In Australia, resource-heavy S&P/ASX 200 gained 2.01%; the Singapore Strait Times index rose 1.66%; the S. Korean Kospi rose 1.60%, and the Taiwan TWSE inclined 0.69%.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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