Asian Stocks Advance, Backed by Strong U.S. Corporate Earnings

An investor walks by in a private stock market gallery in Kuala Lumpur, Tuesday. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

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

Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.5 percent to 22,510.48. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.5 percent to 2,280.20. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 1.5 percent to 28,678.05. The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 1.6 percent to 2,905.54. Australia’s S&P-ASX 200 rose 0.6 percent to 6,265.80.

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.

“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.

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.

The dollar rose to 111.44 yen from 111.34. The euro slipped to $1.1662 from $1.1691.

Benchmark U.S. crude dropped 15 cents to $67.74 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 8 cents to $72.98.