Europe shares drift ahead of US data; Asia gains

Associated Press
Trader James Dresch, right, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, June 30, 2014. European stocks were lower Wednesday July 30, 2014 ahead of U.S. economic data while cheery earnings from major Japanese companies such as Honda Motor Co. boosted Asian markets.(AP Photo/Richard Drew)
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Trader James Dresch, right, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, June 30, 2014. European stocks were lower Wednesday July 30, 2014 ahead of U.S. economic data while cheery earnings from major Japanese companies such as Honda Motor Co. boosted Asian markets.(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

TOKYO (AP) — World markets were mostly higher Wednesday ahead of U.S. economic data, while cheery earnings from major Japanese companies such as Honda Motor Co. boosted Asian stocks.

KEEPING SCORE: In morning trade in Europe, Germany's DAX inched up 0.1 percent to 9,664.70 and France's CAC 40 dipped 0.1 percent to 4,360.69. Britain's FTSE 100 was down 0.1 percent at 6,801.60. Futures painted a brighter picture for Wall Street ahead of quarterly U.S. growth figures. Dow futures and S&P 500 futures both gained 0.3 percent.

ASIA'S DAY: Asian shares mostly rose, with Tokyo's Nikkei 225 rising 0.2 percent to finish at 15,646.23. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 0.4 percent and South Korea's Kospi added 1 percent. Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.6 percent.

HAPPY HONDA: Honda shares added 3.3 percent after a strong quarterly earnings report Tuesday, released after Tokyo stock trading closed, which prompted the Japanese automaker to raise its full year projections. The cheap yen is working as a plus for export manufacturers such as Honda, which are expanding sales in China and other emerging markets.

US DATA: Markets are looking ahead to key data being released later this week. U.S. gross domestic product for the April-June quarter, scheduled for Wednesday, is among the most important. Analysts expect growth to bounce back after a severe winter hit the first quarter numbers. Federal Reserve policymakers also conclude a two-day meeting later Wednesday. The next day, there's a report on China's manufacturing industry, a key sign for regional growth. On Friday, the U.S. Labor Department releases its monthly jobs report.

ANALYST TAKE: "U.S. data will be the main event," says Chris Weston, market strategist at IG in Melbourne. Further sanctions against Russia were also being watching. Expectations of more penalties had dampened stocks over the past two weeks. The U.S. and Europe on Tuesday announced tougher sanctions against Russia in response to the downing of a Malaysian airliner over an area of Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

CURRENCIES, OIL: In currencies, the euro slipped to $1.3404 from $1.3411 late Tuesday, and the dollar edged up to 102.25 yen from 102.10 yen. Benchmark U.S. crude for September delivery was up 29 cents to $101.26 a barrel.

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