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Asian shares gain as Facebook earnings add U.S. momentum - - Asian shares gained on Thursday, with support from the U.S. as Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) posted solid earnings fter the bell.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index reversed earlier losses and gained 0.10%. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.40%.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was moderately higher, edging up 0.13% and the Shanghai Composite slid 0.47%.

Facebook, which surpassed 2 billion active monthly users recently, owns four of the most popular smartphone apps on the planet: its centerpiece Facebook, the photo-sharing Instagram and messaging services Messenger and WhatsApp.

The company's stock rose more than 4% to around $173 after the stellar earnings report. Through Wednesday's close, the share price had climbed nearly 44% this year.

U.S. stocks closed higher, buoyed by strong earnings and the Federal's decision to keep interest rates unchanged.

Upbeat earnings from Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:NYSE:KO), Ford Motor Company (NYSE:NYSE:F), and Boeing Co (NYSE:NYSE:BA) before US markets opened boosted risk appetite among investors, as US indexes raced higher to set new all-time highs.

Later during the session, however, investors shifted focus to monetary policy, as the Federal Reserve kept its benchmark rate unchanged and said it expected to reduce its balance sheet "relatively soon."

"Market-based measures of inflation compensation remain low; survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations are little changed, on balance," the Federal Reserve noted in its July policy statement.

Market participants judged the central bank's policy statement as dovish, lifting stocks higher while pressuring the dollar and treasury yields.

The Federal Reserve's rate decision came after the Commerce Department released new home sales data for July, which missed expectations, suggesting continued constraints in the supply of new homes.

New home sales rose 0.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 610,000 units last month. May's sales pace was revised down to 605,000 units from the previously reported 610,000 units.

Also supporting positive sentiment, was an uptick in oil prices , after a report from the Energy Information Administration revealed that US crude supplies fell by more-than-expected for the week ended July 21.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed higher at 21,711.01. The S&P 500 closed 0.03% higher while the Nasdaq Composite closed at 6422., up 0.36%. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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