* Euro regains footing; ECB under pressure to boost stimulus * Wall St gains on Fed rate expectations * Fed's Williams says wait for more evidence before tapering * European shares inch up to 5-year highs By Herbert Lash NEW YORK, Nov 6 Global stock markets rose on Wednesday and the Dow industrials marked a record closing high as investors seized on signs that the Federal Reserve may keep rates low for longer than expected. Strong data from Germany also cheered investors and stoked speculation that the European Central Bank will not cut rates when it meets on Thursday despite a steep decline in inflation. The expectations on the ECB lifted the euro 0.4 percent to $1.3522, though traders said surveys showing only modest growth in French and German businesses would likely cap the currency's gains. Expectations on the Fed's path were influenced by remarks by John Williams, president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, who late on Tuesday said the Fed should wait for stronger evidence of economic growth before winding down its massive bond-buying program. Two of the Fed's top staff economists made the case in new research papers for more aggressive action by the U.S. central bank to drive down unemployment by promising to hold interest rates lower for longer. The notion of lower interest rates for longer helped lift the Dow industrials to a record high, while a Reuters report that Microsoft had narrowed its CEO search lifted shares in the tech giant, buoying the S&P 500 index. "What's seeping into the market is the increasing likelihood (the Fed) will keep zero percent interest rates for 18 months longer than they had signaled previously," said Steven Einhorn, vice chairman at hedge fund Omega Advisors Inc., which oversees about $9.7 billion in assets. The Fed has concluded that its bond-buying is no longer that effective, and the size of its balance sheet is getting to be problematic, he added. The Dow Jones industrial average finished at a record closing high, up 128.66 points, or 0.82 percent, at 15,746.88, after earlier reaching a lifetime high of 15,750.29. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index ended up 7.52 points, or 0.43 percent, at 1,770.49. A 14.5 percent plunge in shares of Tesla Motors Inc , after the electric car maker gave a disappointing outlook for its fourth quarter late Tuesday, weighed on the Nasdaq Composite Index, which ended down 7.92 points, or 0.20 percent, at 3,931.95. In Europe, the FTSEurofirst 300 of leading regional shares rose 0.39 percent to close at 1,296.58, after briefly touching 1,300 for the first time since early June 2008. MSCI's all-country world stock index rose 0.45 percent. Estimate-beating earnings from financial conglomerate ING and staffing firm Adecco, among other corporate results, gave fresh impetus to the largely stimulus-driven rally. U.S. government debt traded mixed. The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was up 4/32 in price to yield 2.65 percent, while the 30-year bond was down in price. "The market is trying to digest whether the new Fed makeup and the new Fed thinking will be more prone to be keeping the short rates lower for longer and not depend so much on QE," said Vishal Khanduja, a portfolio manager with Calvert Investments in Bethesda, Maryland. President Barack Obama nominated Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen last month to succeed Ben Bernanke when his term expires in January. Brent oil settled down 9 cents at $105.24 a barrel, while U.S. oil $1.52 to $94.89 per barrel. Data from the Energy Information Administration showed U.S. gasoline stocks fell by 3.8 million barrels last week, compared with forecasts in a Reuters poll for a 300,000 barrel decline.
Japan's Nikkei nears 2-year high on strength of tech shares
TOKYO, June 29 Japan's Nikkei share average neared two-year highs on Thursday after Wall Street rebounded, with tech shares such as Advantest Corp and Shin-Etsu Chemical outperforming the overall market.