Markets

Asian Shares Mixed With Eye On Earnings

(RTTNews) - Asian stocks ended mixed on Thursday as upbeat U.S. earnings results helped offset investor concerns surrounding Brexit and the U.S.-China trade war.

While luxury electric car maker Tesla reported a surprise third-quarter profit, software giant Microsoft's Q1 earnings were boosted by cloud and Office revenues.

Chinese stocks closed on a flat note as caution crept in ahead of a crucial meeting of the ruling Communist Party next week.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite index finished marginally lower at 2,940.92 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 0.87 percent to close at 26,797.95.

Japanese shares hit over one-year high as investors lapped up technology stocks on hopes for improved earnings following Microsoft Corp's higher-than-expected sales forecasts for its cloud computing services. A weaker yen also helped underpin investor sentiment.

The Nikkei average climbed 125.22 points, or 0.55 percent, to 22,750.60 while the broader Topix index closed 0.34 percent higher at 1,643.74. Tokyo Electron rallied 2.2 percent and Screen Holdings added 1.3 percent.

Pharmaceutical company Eisai Co soared 15.3 percent after it agreed with its U.S. partner Biogen Inc to revive plans to seek U.S. approval for an Alzheimer's treatment.

Japan Display jumped 6.8 percent on a Nikkei report that tech giant Apple will be among a group of backers expected to provide as much as 40 billion yen in support for the troubled screen maker.

Softbank dropped 2.9 percent on continued worries that its finances will weaken due to its bailout of office-space sharing startup WeWork.

On the data front, Japan's private sector contracted in October as typhoon disrupted service sector activity, survey results from IHS Markit showed.

The Jibun Bank flash composite output index fell to 49.8 from 51.5 in September. The manufacturing PMI came in at 48.5 versus 48.9 in September.

Australian markets eked out modest gains as higher commodity prices helped lift resource stocks. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 20.50 points, or 0.31 percent, to 6,693.60 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 18.50 points, or 0.27 percent, at 6,796.70.

Mining heavyweight BHP climbed 1 percent and Rio Tinto added 0.7 percent after a rise in copper and iron ore prices. Smaller rival Fortescue Metals Group gained half a percent after reporting a rise in first-quarter shipments.

Energy stocks such as Santos and Woodside Petroleum jumped over 2 percent after oil prices rose sharply on Wednesday to reach one-month highs following a surprise draw in US crude inventories.

Electronics retailer JB Hi-Fi soared 6.8 percent as it posted strong sales in the July-September period.

AMP rose 1.1 percent. The wealth manager said its third-quarter net cash outflows at its Australian wealth management unit rose more than 30 percent amid the fallout of the financial services royal commission.

Qantas Airways tumbled 3.7 percent after the airline reported lower revenue from its domestic routes at its budget carrier Jetstar. Gold miner Newcrest Mining dropped 1.6 percent on reporting weaker gold output in the first quarter.

Australia's private sector logged a weaker growth in October, survey data from IHS Markit showed today. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia Flash Composite Output Index dropped to 50.7 from 52.0 in September, reflecting a weaker rise in services activity.

Seoul stocks edged higher as SK Hynix's third-quarter profit beat expectations, raising hopes of a recovery in the chip making industry. The benchmark Kospi inched up 5.04 points, or 0.24 percent, to 2,085.66 while shares of SK Hynix, the world's second-largest memory chipmaker, jumped 3 percent.

Investors shrugged off preliminary data from the Bank of Korea showing that South Korea's economy expanded at a slower pace in the third quarter amid heightened global uncertainties.

Gross domestic product grew 0.4 percent sequentially after rising 1 percent in the second quarter. GDP was forecast to expand 0.5 percent. On a yearly basis, Asia's fourth-largest economy maintained 2 percent growth, in line with expectations.

New Zealand shares fell modestly, with the benchmark S&P NZX-50 index ending down 22.27 points, or 0.21 percent, at 10,831.52.

Shares of power companies recovered some ground to end flat to higher after sharp losses in the previous session, as Rio Tinto said it may shut its aluminum smelter due to a weak aluminum market and high energy costs.

Overnight, U.S. stocks rose modestly despite Boeing and Caterpillar both reporting weaker than expected third quarter earnings and Texas Instruments forecasting current-quarter revenue well below estimates.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite both edged up 0.2 percent while the S&P 500 gained 0.3 percent.

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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