TOKYO – Asian shares mostly rose Wednesday, cheered by the gains on Wall Street as investors welcomed a batch of solid earnings reports from U.S. companies.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 0.5% in morning trading to 23,676.90. South Korea's Kospi added 0.4% to 2,366.40, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.1% to 6,192.30. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.7% at 24,748.91. The Shanghai Composite gained slipped 0.5% to 3,312.41.
Asian shares have tracked the moves on Wall Street lately, as much of the region's export-dependent economies depend on robust trade, slammed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Investors also had their eye on Washington in hopes that Democrats and Republicans will reach a deal to deliver more aid for the economy.
“Markets have been cheered by hopes of a fiscal stimulus deal between Republicans and Democrats even as the Tuesday deadline loomed as all sides expressed goodwill as well as flexibility in the timeline to reach a compromise deal sooner rather than later,” Mizuho Bank said in its daily markets report.
Technology, communication and financial stocks powered most of the gains on Wall Street. Traders bid up shares in several companies that reported quarterly results that were better than analysts expected, including Procter & Gamble, Regions Financial, Albertsons and Travelers.
Others didn't fare as well. Netflix shares fell in after-hours trading after the streaming service reported third-quarter earnings and a tally of new subscribers that fell short of analysts' expectations.
The S&P 500 rose 0.5% to 3,443.12. The Dow Jones Industrial Average of big blue chips gained 0.4% to 28,308.79. The Nasdaq composite snapped a five-day losing streak, rising 0.3% to 11,516.49.
Stocks have been mostly pushing higher this month after giving back some of their big gains this year in a sudden September swoon. The benchmark S&P 500 has notched a gain in each of the past three weeks.
Google parent Alphabet rose 1.4% after the Justice Department sued the company for antitrust violations. The lawsuit could be an opening salvo ahead of other major government antitrust actions, given ongoing federal probes of other major tech companies, including Apple, Amazon and Facebook.
The Big Tech stocks have been investor favorites this year, because the companies are expected to do well during and after the pandemic. That these companies could one day face the risk of an antitrust case is a risk investors have, or should have, long considered.
Procter & Gamble rose 0.4% after the consumer products company reported solid fiscal first-quarter results and raised its earnings outlook. Insurer the Travelers Cos. gained 5.6% after its latest earnings topped Wall Street's estimates, thanks partly to lower-than-expected losses on claims.
In energy trading, U.S. benchmark crude lost 16 cents to $41.54 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Tuesday, it gained 63 cents to $41.70 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 27 cents to $42.89 a barrel.
The U.S. dollar inched down to 105.45 Japanese yen from 105.47 yen late Tuesday. The euro cost $1.1838, up from $1.1823.
AP Business Writers Alex Veiga and Damian J. Troise contributed.