Asia stocks mixed after uneven US bank earnings
BANGKOK—Asian stock markets were mixed Wednesday as uneven earnings reports from big U.S. banks dampened investor enthusiasm over successful bond issues in Europe.
Benchmark oil rose above $101 per barrel while the dollar fell against the euro and the yen.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.2 percent to 8,480.99 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.4 percent to 19,696.35. But South Korea's Kospi fell 0.2 percent to 1,888.71 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was flat at 4,215.30.
Benchmarks in Indonesia and Malaysia rose while mainland China and Singapore fell.
Financial shares came under pressure on weak quarterly earnings from some U.S. banks, including Citigroup Inc., which said its fourth-quarter income fell 11 percent due in part to lower investment banking income and an accounting charge.
Australia & New Zealand Banking Group fell 1.1 percent and Hong Kong-listed Agricultural Bank of China slid 1.9 percent.
European shares ended mostly higher Tuesday on the heels of short-term debt auctions by Spain, Greece and Europe's bailout fund that drew strong investor demand, despite recent credit rating downgrades by Standard & Poor's.
Many had feared the downgrades would prevent them from obtaining funds and worsen a sovereign debt crisis in Europe.
Other good news came from China, where the government said its economy slowed less dramatically in the fourth quarter than analysts had feared.
China is one of the biggest importers and slower growth could have global repercussions if it cuts demand for iron ore, industrial components and other goods from Australia, Brazil, Southeast Asia and elsewhere.
It would also mean less demand for U.S. and European capital goods for Chinese factories and construction sites, and smaller profits for U.S. and European companies that do business here. The luxury goods industry would also feel a significant pinch, since China is just about the only growth market for those.
On Tuesday, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.5 percent to close at 12,482.07. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 0.4 percent to 1,293.67. The Nasdaq composite index added 0.6 percent to 2,728.08.
Benchmark crude for February delivery was up 49 cents to $101.20 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract finished at $100.71 per barrel in New York on Tuesday.
In currency trading, the euro rose to $1.2779 from $1.2722 late Tuesday in New York. The dollar fell to 76.68 yen from 76.82 yen.