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Asia shares up despite Wall Street sluggishness

Asia shares up despite Wall Street sluggishness

Asian markets headed upward Wednesday, shrugging off plummeting housing starts and industrial production in the U.S. as oil prices rose and the dollar weakened.
Oil prices rose to near $98 a barrel Wednesday in Asia after a crude supply report showed mixed signs about U.S. demand. The dollar was down against the euro and the yen.
Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.9 percent to 9,651.12, helped by a weakening yen and reports of a recovery in production after massive disruptions following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that wiped out much of the country's industrial northeast.
Reports that Renesas Electronics Corp. _ a major provider of microprocessors that control brakes, engines and transmissions for cars _ will boost production at a key plant helped lift sentiment, Kyodo news agency reported, citing analysts.
Meanwhile, rising banking shares on Wall Street helped lift their Asian counterparts. Mizuho Financial Group Inc. rose 3.2 percent, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. was 2.1 percent higher, and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group rose 2.3 percent.
South Korea's Kospi index jumped 1.1 percent, with automakers and shipbuilders leading the way. Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., South Korea's leading shipbuilder, soared 4.9 percent. Kia Motors Corp. jumped 2.8 percent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.5 percent to 23,009.80 and Australia's S&P ASX 200 was 0.4 percent higher to 4,700.20.
In New York on Tuesday, a lower earnings forecast by tech giant Hewlett-Packard and concerns about the economy's strength dragged the Dow Jones industrial average down nearly 70 points. Gains in bank and utilities stocks limited the market's overall losses.
Hewlett-Packard Co. fell more than 7 percent. The world's largest technology company by revenue lowered its earnings outlook for the rest of the year, partly because of weaker sales of personal computers.
Concerns about the economy's strength helped pull down industrial companies like Caterpillar Inc. and Boeing Co. The Federal Reserve said U.S. factories produced fewer goods in April for the first time in 10 months. If the decline continues, it could cut into the earnings of companies that make industrial equipment. The Commerce Department also reported that construction of new homes plunged.
The Dow lost 68.79 points to 12,479.58. The S&P 500 lost less than 1 point to 1,328.98. The Nasdaq rose less than 1 point to 2,783.21.
Even with a majority of companies reporting stronger earnings, the U.S. stock market has lost some of its momentum in the last few weeks. Concerns are growing that high gas prices will weigh on the economy, pinch consumer spending and cut into corporate profits.
Benchmark crude for June delivery rose 83 cents to $97.74 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday. The contract lost 47 cents to settle at $96.91 per barrel on the Nymex on Tuesday.
In currencies, the euro strengthened to $1.4268 from $1.4229 in late trading Tuesday in New York. The dollar weakened to 81.28 yen from 81.43 yen.


Updated : 2021-05-17 06:48 GMT+08:00