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Major global indices were on the rise Wednesday.

In Asia, the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo rose 0.1 percent to 14,615.04, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong increased 0.3 percent to 21,371.87.

In Europe, the FTSE MIB in Milan led the charge, up 1.1 percent to 15,695.03, while the Dax in Frankfurt gained 0.7 percent to 8,254.72. The CAC 40 in Paris rose 0.6 percent to 3,872.02, followed by the FTSE 100 in London, up 0.2 percent to 6,571.93.

Most luxury and retail stocks were up, with the exception of a few, such as Safilo Group, which lost 2.74 percent to 15.29 euros, and Yoox SpA, down 1.3 percent to 19.75 euros. Among those gaining ground were Marks and Spencer Group plc, up 2.8 percent to 4.74 pounds, and Kering, rising 1.7 percent to 169.50 euros.

In the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.1 percent to 15,470.52, while the S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group rose 0.3 percent to 840.89.

Although Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke said in testimony on Capital Hill today that tapering on economic stimulus measures could likely begin later this year, he also told Congress the reductions were “by no means on a preset course.” He emphasized the Fed’s flexibility and that any pull back on its bond purchases would depend on improvement in the economy.

That seemed to ease concerns by investors who had been afraid that any reduction would occur on a bigger scale. Those concerns that tapering could even begin as early as September led to the stock market pullback last month.

In Wednesday’s trading session, Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. gained the most at 5.8 percent to $4.21, while Tilly’s Inc. lost 4.1 percent to $16.01. Outside of the teen space, J.C. Penney Co. Inc. slid 3.3 percent to $16.56.