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September 20, 2017

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Global stocks mostly up on promise of further stimulus

SEOUL/HONG KONG--Global stock markets were mostly higher Monday after top central bankers in Europe and Japan said support for their economies would continue and additional help is possible.

Germany's DAX advanced 1 percent to 9,434.34 and France' CAC 40 rose 0.9 percent to 4,289.95. Hopes of stimulus in France were boosted by President Francois Hollande's dissolution of his government after an open feud in his Cabinet over the country's stagnant economy. London's stock market was closed for a public holiday. Wall Street was set for gains, with S&P futures and Dow Jones futures both up 0.3 percent.

Europe's top central banker said the bank is considering asset purchases to pump more money into Europe's economy, though he gave no guidance on when that help would happen. Mario Draghi, head of the European Central Bank, said in a speech at Jackson Hole, Wyoming on Friday that the bank was ready to do more to boost the eurozone's shaky recovery. His remarks sent European shares higher and the euro currency lower.

Asian markets mostly rose Monday, while the dollar hit multi-month highs against the yen and euro after the U.S. Federal Reserve chief seemed to indicate a shift towards an interest rate rise sooner than expected.

While Janet Yellen's speech Friday said slackness in the jobs market would likely staunch inflation, investors noted her acknowledgement of calls for an early rate rise. Analysts said this may suggest she is thinking of such a move.

Tokyo climbed 0.28 percent, or 74.06 points, to 15,613.25 and Seoul put on 0.20 percent, or 4.19 points, to end at 2,060.89. Hong Kong gained 0.22 percent, or 54.68 points, to close at 25,166.91.

However, Sydney shed 0.19 percent, or 10.7 points, to 5,634.9 and Shanghai dipped 0.51 percent, or 11.54 points, to 2,229.27.

Speaking at the Fed's annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Yellen said even if joblessness has fallen more quickly than expected to 6.2 percent, there remains "considerable uncertainty about the level of employment" in the world's biggest economy.

That signaled her commitment to the Fed's timetable for raising rates late next year, rather than earlier as some analysts and policymakers would like.

However, Junichi Ishikawa, market analyst at IG Securities in Tokyo, told Dow Jones Newswires: "Her comments at Jackson Hole were balanced, and took into consideration the positions of the more hawkish members of the Fed."

And Kathleen Brooks at said dealers took account of the uncertainty surrounding labor market indicators which Yellen mentioned in her speech. "The market seems to perceive this indecision to be a subtle shift away from the ultra-dovish stance Yellen has taken in the past," she said.

Yellen's comments pushed the dollar above 104 yen for the first time since April and to the strongest level since January.

In afternoon Tokyo trade the greenback bought 104.10 yen compared with 103.87 yen in New York Friday.

The Dow eased 0.22 percent Friday and the S&P 500 shed 0.20 percent. The Nasdaq added 0.14 percent.

Gold traded at US$1,277.98 an ounce at 1050 GMT compared to US$1,281.40 an ounce late Friday.

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