Asia stocks post muted gains on improving US data
BANGKOK (AP) — Rising U.S. consumer confidence and home prices painted a picture of a rebounding economy, helping Asian stock markets to post muted gains Wednesday.
Wall Street resumed its record-breaking rally on Tuesday after the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller survey found that U.S. home prices rose 10.9 percent in March, the most since April 2006. On top of that, the Conference Board in Washington reported consumer confidence rising to a five-year high.
"Market sentiment was given a lift overnight with the US consumer confidence index coming in higher than expected and the house price indices showing stronger gains, indicating a strong underlying momentum in the economy in the face of fiscal restraint," said Anthony Lam of Credit Agricole CIB in an email commentary.
The figures are particularly encouraging because they indicate that U.S. consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of activity in the world's largest economy, is firmly recovering.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.1 percent to 14,325.64. South Korea's Kospi advanced 0.4 percent to 1,994.93. Benchmarks in Taiwan, Indonesia, New Zealand and the Philippines also rose.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.8 percent to 22,736.03. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.1 percent to 4,965.50.
On Tuesday in New York, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.7 percent to 15,409.39, a record high. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.6 percent to 1,660.06. The Nasdaq composite index rose 0.9 percent, to 3,488.89.
Benchmark oil for July delivery fell 18 cents to $94.83 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract for the benchmark grade rose 86 cents to close at $95.01 on Tuesday.
In currencies, the euro fell to $1.2858 from $1.2876 late Tuesday in New York. The dollar rose to 102.18 from 102.08 yen.