TOKYO — Asian stock markets rose in early trading Wednesday, buoyed by growing expectations that the Federal Reserve will take steps to bolster the U.S. economy following a surprise rate cut by the Bank of Japan.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average gained 93.91 points, or 1.0 percent, to 9,613.22 after rallying 1.5 percent the previous day. Investors cheered the Bank of Japan's move Tuesday to slash its key interest rate to virtually zero.

South Korea's Kospi rose 0.9 percent to 1,896.21. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was up 1.3 percent at 4,722.20.

The Japanese bank's surprise action and its pledge to pump more money into the nation's struggling economy boosted market sentiment, lifting stocks worldwide Tuesday.

Investors were expecting the Federal Reserve, which next meets on Nov. 2 and 3, to also look to force rates lower, possibly by buying more government debt, in the hopes of stimulating spending.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average jumped 193.45 points, or 1.8 percent, to 10,944.72 — the highest finish in nearly five months. The Dow also rallied after a trade group said Tuesday that activity in U.S. services companies — the nation's predominant job-generating sector — powered ahead in September. (AP)