Asian shares mixed fol­low­ing ad­vance on Wall Street

Sun.Star Pampanga - - BUSINESS! -

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares were mixed in Asia on Wed­nes­day af­ter a mod­estly high fin­ish on Wall Street that ex­tended the mar­ket’s gains into a fourth week.

The Nikkei 225 in­dex rose 0.6 per­cent to 21,431.49 de­spite news that Ja­pan’s ex­ports sank 8.4 per­cent in Jan­uary from a year ear­lier, far more than fore­cast.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng in­dex jumped 0.9 per­cent to 28,489,50, while the Shang­hai Com­pos­ite slipped 0.1 per­cent to 2,752.07. South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.0 per­cent to 2,228.12 and the S&P ASX 200 slipped 0.2 per­cent to 6,096.50.

Un­cer­tainty over the costly trade con­flict be­tween the U.S. and China has clouded the out­look for trade as well as com­pany prof­its. But U.S. stocks shook off an early wob­ble on Wall Street as solid earn­ings from Wal­mart en­cour­aged investors to bid up other re­tail­ers and con­sumer goods com­pa­nies. Com­mu­ni­ca­tion ser­vices stocks and banks also con­trib­uted to the broad gains.

Roughly 81 per­cent of S&P 500 com­pa­nies have re­ported re­sults for the last three months of 2018, de­liv­er­ing earn­ings growth of 13.1 per­cent ver­sus a year ear­lier, ac­cord­ing to Fac­tSet. First-quar­ter snap­shots are ex­pected to re­sult in a 2.5 per­cent de­cline in earn­ings, how­ever.

The bench­mark S&P 500 in­dex gained 0.1 per­cent to 2,779.76, while the Dow Jones In­dus­trial Av­er­age was al­most flat at 25,891.32. The Nas­daq com­pos­ite added 0.2 per­cent to 7,486.77. The Rus­sell 2000 in­dex of smaller com­pa­nies picked up 0.3 per­cent, to 1,574.47.

Ma­jor Euro­pean in­dexes fin­ished mostly lower. Investors are keep­ing a close eye on talks be­tween U.S. and Chi­nese ne­go­tia­tors in Wash­ing­ton that are aimed at end­ing a trade war be­tween the world’s largest economies.

JA­PAN TRADE: A 17 per­cent drop in Ja­pan’s ex­ports to China and 13 per­cent de­cline in ex­ports to the rest of Asia in­clud­ing China helped drag over­all ex­ports sharply lower. Ja­pan’s im­ports fell 0.6 per­cent, leav­ing a deficit of 1.4 tril­lion yen ($12.8 bil­lion), up 50 per­cent from a year ear­lier and the big­gest such gap since March 2014. The weak num­bers sug­gest China’s slow­down and trade ten­sions with the United States are hurt­ing de­mand.

CUR­REN­CIES: The dol­lar rose to 110.85 yen from 110.63 yen on Tues­day. The euro slipped to $1.1340 from $1.1343.

EN­ERGY: U.S. bench­mark crude gained 9 cents to $56.54 per bar­rel in elec­tronic trad­ing on the New York Mer­can­tile Ex­change. It rose 0.8 per­cent to set­tle at $56.45 a bar­rel on Tues­day. Brent crude, the stan­dard for in­ter­na­tional oil prices, lost 3 cents to $66.42 per bar­rel.

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