Asian stocks subdued after weak US earnings

Associated Press

MUMBAI, India (AP) — Asian stock markets were lackluster Wednesday after a string of weak U.S. corporate earnings raised doubts over the solidity of the American economic recovery.

Japan's Nikkei, the regional heavyweight, was down by 0.8 percent to 15,665.02, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong inched up by 0.1 percent to 23,050.73. South Korea's Kospi was down 0.1 percent at 1,962.44 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.5 percent to 5,307.50.

The Shanghai Composite in China was one of the few bright spots, up 1.7 percent to 2,041.84 after the central bank promised extra liquidity in the financial system the previous day, apparently outweighing news that China's growth was down slightly from the previous quarter. India's Sensex added 0.2 percent.

The subdued Asian trading followed an earnings-inspired lull Tuesday on Wall Street. The Dow fell 0.3 percent to 16,414.44 and the broader S&P 500 shed 0.3 percent to 1,843.80.

Sentiment was knocked by earnings reports that caused a drop in the shares of blue chip U.S. companies Johnson & Johnson, Travelers and Verizon.

In Europe on Tuesday, France's CAC-40 closed the day flat at 4,323.87 and Germany's DAX rose 0.2 percent to 9,730.12. Britain's FTSE 100 ended roughly unchanged at 6,834.26.

Benchmark U.S. crude for March delivery was up 43 cents at $95.40 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In currencies, the euro was slightly higher at $1.3562. The dollar rose to 104.44 yen from 104.29 yen.

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