World stocks edge up ahead of Fed minutes

The Associated Press
A women looks at an electronic stock indicator of a securities firm in the rain in Tokyo, Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Asian stock markets were muted Wednesday as investors watched for cues from central banks in Japan and elsewhere. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

LONDON (AP) — World shares edged higher Wednesday as investors awaited cues from the Federal Reserve and Thailand's market stabilized a day after the country's military declared martial law.

Minutes from the Fed's last policy meeting will be released later and could yield information on the central bank's future intentions.

In Europe, stocks overcame a weak start to close higher. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.3 percent to 6,821.04 while France's CAC 30 gained 0.4 percent to 4,469.03. Germany's DAX rose 0.6 percent to 9,697.87.

In the U.S., markets reversed losses driven by lackluster earnings from retailers the day before. The Dow was up 0.7 percent at 16,494.01 while the S&P 500 was 0.5 percent higher at 1,881.10.

Earlier, the rise in the yen and the Bank of Japan's decision Wednesday to refrain from extra stimulus pulled the Nikkei 225 stock index 0.2 percent lower to 14,042.17.

South Korea's Kospi fell 0.2 percent to 2,008.33. But Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 1.8 percent to close at 22,836.52 after yo-yoing throughout the day.

The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.8 percent to 2,024.95, hours ahead of the announcement of a $400 billion deal for China to buy gas from Russia over 30 years.

Jitters over Thailand's political crisis appeared to subside a day after the military declared martial law in what it called an attempt to stabilize the country's precarious political situation. The SET index in Bangkok was up 0.7 percent to 1,404.23.

Elsewhere in Asia, shares fell in Singapore, the Philippines, India, New Zealand and Taiwan, but edged higher in Australia and Indonesia.

Benchmark crude for July delivery was down 10 cents to $102.51 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In currencies, the euro fell 0.3 percent to $1.3659 and the dollar rose 0.1 percent to 101.46 yen.