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Markets Right Now: Asian shares rise on oil price, US gains

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Latest news on global financial markets (all times local):

00:30 a.m.

Asian stocks rose in early trading Thursday, buoyed by a rise in U.S. stocks following an uptick in oil prices. A weakening of the Japanese yen pushed Tokyo’s benchmark higher.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 2.0 per cent to 17,236.37, as exporters’ shares were lifted by the weaker yen, which can boost their profits. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 1.8 per cent to 21,610.86. The Shanghai Composite index added 0.1 per cent to 2,976.02. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.1 per cent to 5,339.10. South Korea’s KOSPI was up 0.7 per cent to 2,018.81. Southeast Asian markets were higher.

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4:00 p.m.

Stocks are closing with modest gains on Wall Street after a midday rally lost steam.

Banks and energy companies rose more than the rest of the market Wednesday. Both sectors got some relief after the price of crude oil turned higher. Banks have been in the doldrums as investors worry that loans to struggling oil companies could go bad.

Chesapeake Energy jumped 5 per cent. Discover Financial rose 8 per cent.

The price of crude oil shook off an early slide and closed up 4 per cent.

Coca-Cola fell 5 per cent after reporting another decline in revenue.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 42 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 18,096.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index edged up a point to 2,102. The Nasdaq composite climbed seven points, or 0.2 per cent, to 4,948.

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12:30 p.m.

European stock markets closed higher as the oil price continued its grind higher.

Among the main indexes, Germany’s DAX rose 0.6 per cent to 10,421.29 while the CAC-40 in France ended 0.6 per cent higher at 4,591.92. Britain’s FTSE 100 index rose 0.1 per cent at 6,410.26.

Oil prices have helped drive stock markets this year and their rebound this week has been viewed as a sign of greater investor confidence in the global economy.

European stocks had traded lower for much of Wednesday’s session when oil prices were in retreat. But the subsequent rise in oil prices following U.S. inventory data saw European stocks push ahead. The benchmark New York crude rate was up 72 cents at $43.18.

The main focus on Thursday in European markets will be the policy meeting of the European Central Bank. Though the bank is not expected to announce any further stimulus measures for the 19-country eurozone, its president, Mario Draghi, is widely tipped to suggest more may be forthcoming if needed.

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11:45 a.m.

Stocks are turning higher on Wall Street in midday trading, led by gains in energy companies as the price of oil climbs.

Williams Companies jumped 5 per cent Wednesday and Southwestern Energy tacked on 4 per cent.

The price of crude oil shook off an early slide and was up 2 per cent at about $42 a barrel in New York.

Health care companies were also doing well. Intuitive Surgical was up 4 per cent and UnitedHealth Group was up 3 per cent.

Coca-Cola fell 5 per cent after reporting another decline in revenue.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 57 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 18,107.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up five points, or 0.3 per cent, to 2,106. The Nasdaq composite climbed 20 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 4,960.

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9:35 a.m.

U.S. stock indexes are narrowly mixed in nearly trading on Wall Street as investors absorb the latest round of company earnings reports.

Coca-Cola fell 4 per cent in the first few minutes of trading Wednesday after the company reported another decline in revenue.

Aircraft maker Textron was up 5 per cent after its results beat analysts’ forecasts. Software maker VMWare was also higher.

The price of crude oil fell after a solid gain the day before.

The Dow Jones industrial average was little changed at 18,049.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slipped a point to 2,099. The Nasdaq composite edged down 10 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 4,930.

Bond prices didn’t move much. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note held steady at 1.78 per cent.

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1:20 p.m.

Wall Street is set to open on a steady note following cautious trading in both Europe and Asia that had its roots in a drop in oil prices.

Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures are set to open around 0.2 per cent higher at the bell.

Market observers said the pause was likely following a stellar start to the week. Both the Dow and S&P closed at 2016 highs on Tuesday.

Joshua Mahony, market analyst at IG, said “the ability to maintain such an intense pace of stock market gains was always questionable.”

In Europe, the main stock markets were trading in narrow ranges, with Germany’s DAX 0.2 per cent higher at 10,368 and the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares down 0.2 per cent at 6,395.

Oil prices have been at the heart of stock market moves this year and their rebound this week have been viewed as a sign that the global economic outlook has improved. On Wednesday, the benchmark New York rate was down 61 cents at $41.86 a barrel.

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10:20 a.m.

European stocks are down in morning trading, tracking their Asian counterparts, as a recent improvement in investor sentiment appeared to run out of steam.

Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.4 per cent at 6,382.19 on Wednesday while Germany’s DAX dropped 0.2 per cent to 10,324.79. France’s CAC 40 was down 0.4 per cent at 4,549.32.

Investors in Europe will be gradually turning their attention to Thursday’s meeting by the European Central Bank. It is not expected to provide more stimulus, after having announced a raft of measures at its last meeting in March. But analysts say that the bank’s president, Mario Draghi, will be keen to convey the message during his news conference that more stimulus is possible and available, as needed.

Traders also seem to be reacting to mostly downbeat corporate data, including weak earnings for banks and a 15 per cent slide in the shares of Mitsubishi, which said it found evidence its employees falsified fuel mileage test data for several models of vehicles.

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7:30 a.m.

Asian shares were mostly lower by mid-afternoon Wednesday, as sharp declines in Chinese benchmarks and a relapse in oil prices renewed concern over the recent failure of producing nations to agree on capping output.

The Shanghai Composite index sank by nearly 4 per cent to 2,922.51 in a late-in-the day sell-off that market players said had no obvious apparent cause.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.2 per cent to 16,906.54 and the Australian S&P/ASX 200 added 0.5 per cent to 5,281.20. Most other benchmarks in the region were lower.

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5:00 a.m.

Asian stocks meandered Wednesday, though sentiment was lifted by Wall Street’s strong day, as investor attention turned to upcoming remarks from a European Central Bank official.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 edged up 0.5 per cent in morning trading to 16,962.28. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3 per cent to 5,271.80. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.3 per cent to 2,016.81. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.6 per cent to 21,307.82, while the Shanghai Composite inched up nearly 0.1 per cent to 3,044.98.