TOKYO: Asian shares were higher Wednesday on optimism about global economic growth following gains on Wall Street.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 1.4 percent in morning trading to 22,324.64. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.5 percent to 5,938.90. South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.1 percent to 2,551.12. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.7 percent to 28,429.65, while the Shanghai Composite climbed 0.1 percent to 3,397.15. Shares in Taiwan and Southeast Asia were higher.
WALL STREET: U.S. shares are getting a boost from stronger-than-expected corporate profits. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 0.1 percent to 2,575.26, the latest tick higher in what’s been a remarkably smooth ride this year. The index closed out October with its seventh straight month of gains, the longest such streak in more than four years. The Dow Jones industrial average picked up 0.1 percent to 23,377.24, and the Nasdaq composite gained 0.4 percent to 6,727.67, a record.
GOOD EARNINGS: More than half the companies in the S&P 500 have reported their results for the July-through-September quarter, and most have topped Wall Street forecasts. Several big names are still on the docket for this week, with Facebook set to report on Wednesday and Apple on Thursday.
CENTRAL BANKS: Several of the world’s largest central banks are meeting this week, and the Bank of Japan decided on Tuesday to keep its interest rates at ultra-low levels. The Bank of England is expected to raise interest rates on Thursday, which would be the first increase in a decade. The U.S. Federal Reserve wraps up a two-day meeting Wednesday, though most economists expect it to wait until its December gathering to raise rates for the third time this year. Meanwhile, attention is on President Donald Trump’s choice for the next Fed chair.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil added 28 cents to $54.66 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 23 cents to settle at $54.38 per barrel overnight. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 30 cents to $61.24 per barrel.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose 113.88 yen from 113.12 yen late Tuesday in Asia. The euro inched down to $1.1635 from $1.1638.