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Asian stocks advance, backed by strong US corporate earnings

July 24, 2018
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Investors walk in front of trading boards at a private stock market gallery in Kuala Lumpur, Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Asian markets rose on Tuesday as better-than-expected U.S. corporate earnings and the lack of bad news on trade tensions encouraged investors. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian markets rose on Tuesday, led by better-than-expected U.S. corporate earnings and a lack of bad news on trade tensions.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.6 percent to 22,534.03. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.4 percent to 2,278.23. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 1.5 percent to 28,683.80. The Shanghai Composite Index rebounded 1.7 percent to 2,902.87. Australia’s S&P-ASX 200 rose 0.7 percent to 6,267.60.

WALL STREET: U.S. indexes were mixed on Monday as gains by banks and technology companies were offset by losses in other sectors. The S&P 500 index added 0.2 percent to 2,806.98. The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged less than 0.1 percent lower to 25,044.29. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.3 percent to 7,841.87 and the Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 0.1 percent to 1,698.41.

U.S. CORPORATE EARNINGS: On Monday, Google parent Alphabet reported a profit of $3.2 billion for the three months that ended June 30. It booked a $5.1 billion charge to cover a fine levied by European regulators, who have accused Google of unfairly forcing handset makers to take its Chrome, Search and Play Store apps when using its free Android mobile system. Google has said it will appeal the European fine. Alphabet Inc.’s stock jumped 3.6 percent in after-market trading. Toy maker Hasbro was the biggest gainer in the S&P 500 on Monday after its quarterly earnings topped Wall Street’s forecasts. Its stock rallied 12.9 percent to $106.04. Companies such as Boeing, Facebook, Amazon.com and McDonald’s are due to report results later this week.

ANALYST’S TAKE: “Investors are looking on the bright side. What we’re seeing is a cautious dipping into the market, mainly driven by positive sentiment on the U.S. corporate earnings front,” said Song Seng Wun, an economist at CIMB Private Banking.

JAPAN FACTORY OUTLOOK: A private survey suggested that manufacturing is slowing. The flash Markit/Nikkei purchasing managers’ index fell to 51.6 in July from a final 53.0 in June, a 20-month low. Readings above 50 indicate expansion on the index’s 100-point scale. The downbeat numbers could alleviate pressure on Japan’s central bank to roll back its massive monetary stimulus policy. The data suggest “that the threat of a global trade war may be weighing on business confidence,” said Marcel Thieliant of Capital Economics. While new export orders rose slightly, growth slowed in the last quarter, he noted in a commentary.

CURRENCIES: The dollar eased to 111.25 yen from 111.34 yen. The euro slipped to $1.1687 from $1.1691.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude dropped 23 cents to $67.66 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Monday, the contract dropped 37 cents to settle at $67.89 per barrel. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 25 cents to $72.81.

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