Asian stock markets boosted by US data, earnings

Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — Asian stock markets rose Tuesday, getting a perk from a moderate rally on Wall Street set off by solid Citigroup earnings and positive U.S. retail sales.

The Nikkei 225, the benchmark for the Tokyo Stock Exchange, gained nearly 1 percent in early trading, or 133.81 points, to 14,043.97.

The dollar holding close to 102 yen levels also helped boost share prices. A weak yen is a plus for many Japanese companies because they rely on exports.

South Korea's Kospi added 0.2 percent to 2,001.08. Taiwan's benchmark rose 0.5 percent to 8,900.02.

On Wall Street, the Standard & Poor's 500 gained 0.8 percent to close Monday at 1,830.61. The Dow Jones industrial average added 0.9 percent to 16,173.24 and the Nasdaq rose or 0.6 percent to 4,022.69.

Global stock markets suffered last week over concerns that technology stocks are overvalued and jitters about the crisis in the Ukraine but recouped some of those losses Monday on strong economic and corporate news from the U.S.

A 1.1 percent rise in U.S. retail sales in March, the biggest in 18 months, boosted sentiment, as did better-than-expected earnings from Citigroup.

Investors had earlier been cautious, selling off stocks in Europe, on concern of a flare-up in Ukraine's crisis.

Ukrainian and Western officials have accused Moscow of instigating a pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine. That raised the prospect of more sanctions against Russia, possibly affecting the valuable energy trade.

The dollar was trading at 101.72 yen, down from 101.83 late Monday. The euro fell to $1.3814 from $1.3823.

Benchmark U.S. crude for May delivery was down 64 cents at $103.41 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 31 cents Monday to settle at $104.05.

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