Asian shares rise after Wall Street gain on solid earnings

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mostly higher yesterday after a Wall Street rally driven by healthy earnings reports from United States (US) companies.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 1.2 per cent to 22,476.70, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 1.2 per cent to 6,729.50. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was unchanged at 26,505.95, while the Shanghai Composite index lost 0.3 per cent to 2,982.74.

South Korea’s Kospi added 0.6 per cent to 2,077.88 after the Bank of Korea announced it was cutting its benchmark interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point, to a record-low 1.25 per cent.

Shares also rose in Taiwan and most of Southeast Asia. India’s Sensex added 0.1 per cent.

Stocks notched solid gains on Wall Street on Tuesday as investors welcomed surprisingly good quarterly results from some of the nation’s biggest companies.

Strong earnings from UnitedHealth Group, JPMorgan Chase and other companies helped power the market’s broad gains, erasing modest losses from a day earlier.

Chinese investors monitor stock prices at a brokerage house in Beijing. PHOTO: AP

Investors are looking to the wave of quarterly report cards due out over the next few weeks to give them a clearer picture of what impact the trade war between the US and China is having on corporate profits and the broader economy.

“Global market sentiment was seen picking up a notch overnight with Wall Street gaining on earnings despite the uncertainty that persists on US-China trade,” said Jingyi Pan, market strategist with IG in Singapore.

“Breaking news of China threatening to retaliate if US passes the Hong Kong bill and the IMF’s latest downgrading of the global growth forecast appear to be doing little to the trading action so far this morning, but remain items highlighting the uncertainty in outlook.”

The encouraging earnings reports came with a spate of surprisingly good forecasts for the rest of the year, which helped ease concerns about a slowdown due to the costly trade conflict.

The S&P 500 index climbed one per cent to 2,995.68. The benchmark index is now one per cent below its all-time high set in July.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.9 per cent to 27,024.80, while the Nasdaq gained 1.2 per cent to 8,148.71. Small-company stocks also bounced back after leading the decline a day earlier. The Russell 2000 index picked up 1.2 per cent to 1,523.30.

On Friday, the US agreed to suspend a planned hike in tariffs on USD250 billion of Chinese goods that had been set to kick in Tuesday. Beijing, meanwhile, agreed to buy USD40 billion to USD50 billion in US farm products.

The US did not, however, cancel plans for more tariffs in December and the sticking points of intellectual property and trade secrets still hang over the dispute.

ENERGY: Benchmark crude oil rose 12 cents to USD52.93 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 78 cents to USD52.81 a barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude oil, the international standard, rose 14 cents to USD58.88 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 108.66 Japanese yen from 108.85 yen on Tuesday. The euro strengthened to USD1.1031 from USD1.1029.