Global shares stage modest gains as investors await earnings

SEOUL, South Korea/July 14, 2017 (AP)(STL.News) — Global shares were moderately higher Friday as investors awaited a raft of corporate earnings due out next week. The Federal Reserve chair’s second day of testimony to Congress generated little market-moving news.

KEEPING SCORE: Britain’s FTSE 100 dipped 0.1 percent at 7,410.07 but France’s CAC 40 added 0.1 percent to 5,240.62 while Germany’s DAX was nearly unchanged at 12,643.09. Futures augured a lukewarm start on Wall Street with Dow futures down 0.1 percent and S&P futures also dipping 0.1 percent.

ASIA SCORECARD: Japan’s Nikkei 225 added 0.1 percent to 20,118.86 and South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.2 percent to 2,414.63. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index inched up 0.2 percent to 26,389.23 and the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.1 percent to 3,222.42. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.5 percent to 5,765.10. Stocks in Southeast Asia were mixed.

EARNINGS WATCH: Companies in the U.S. and in Asia will begin reporting their quarterly financial results and give their earnings forecasts for upcoming quarters next week. Upbeat earnings in the U.S. could boost the sentiment of investors in Asia.

ANALYST’S VIEW: “Looking forward, market participants are waiting for earnings season to paint a clearer picture of market direction over the next few weeks, as the market focus has now shifted to companies’ mid-year reports,” said Margaret Yang, a market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore.

FED WATCH: Yellen rehashed her key message in her comments to Congress on Thursday, speaking of challenge posed by the dual risks of inflation: prices rising too slowly and prices accelerating too quickly. She also said it would be premature to conclude that a recent slowdown in price gains means the Fed cannot achieve its goal of 2 percent annual inflation.

The remarks were seen as signaling that the Fed might slow the pace of rate hikes if inflation remains below the Fed’s 2 percent target. That has eased concerns the Fed was raising interest rates too quickly.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 21 cents to $45.87 per barrel in electronic trading on New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 59 cents, or 1.3 percent, to settle at $46.08 per barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 14 cents to $48.28 per barrel in London. On Thursday, it added 68 cents, or 1.4 percent, to close at $48.42 per barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar was flat at 113.28 yen while the euro strengthened to $1.1410 from $1.1398.

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By YOUKYUNG LEE, AP Business Writer

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