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World Stocks up, but Set for Steep Monthly Fall

World stocks rose for the fourth session in a row Wednesday on hopes the U.S. Federal Reserve will try another stimulus package, though global shares were still set to post their biggest monthly drop in 15 months.

Crude and copper prices also rose while the dollar slipped against the yen and the euro.

Gold, bolstered during August by safe-haven buying, was poised to post its biggest monthly rise since November 2009 and held steady after a 2.6 percent rise in the previous session.

Tuesday's slump in U.S. consumer confidence to its lowest in two years, along with Fed minutes showing policymakers discussed a range of unusual tools they could use to help the economy, further bolstered expectations that the U.S. central bank is ready to act.

The Fed's decision to hold a two-day meeting in September instead of a one-day session has already helped stabilize financial markets after steep selloff earlier in August on concerns over slowing global growth and the euro zone debt crisis.

"Although the release of the FOMC [Fed Open Markets Committee] meeting minutes offered little in the way of consensus as to precisely what the central bank will do next, it does still leave the door open for further action, so this may well help keep the general sentiment upbeat," said Cameron Peacock, market analyst at IG Markets.

World equities measured by the MSCI All-Country World Index advanced 0.3 percent. The benchmark is down 8.5 percent this month, on track for its worst monthly percentage drop since May last year.

Europe's FTSEurofirst 300 put on 0.4 percent, though it was still down 12.8 percent in August and set for its biggest monthly fall since September 2002.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei average ended flat and was down 8.9 percent in August, its biggest monthly decline since May 2010.

Expectations of further stimulus from the U.S. weighed on the dollar, which was down 0.1 percent at 76.61 yen on Wednesday. The U.S. currency was down 1.2 percent in August versus the yen, despite Tokyo's efforts to weaken its currency through intervention.

The greenback is down 5.6 percent this year against the yen, which has held its safe-haven appeal.

The euro was down 0.2 percent at $1.4421, though the single currency is up 7.8 percent against the dollar this year, largely helped by Asian investors' moves to diversify their assets.

Gold steadied at more than $1,830 an ounce, while copper added 0.2 percent and was up for the sixth day in a row.

Brent crude put on 0.2 percent to trade above $114 a barrel.

(Editing by John Stonestreet)

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

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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