Asian shares mixed after encouraging China GDP data

Combined Shape

TOKYO (AP) — Stock markets were mostly higher Wednesday after news that China’s economy grew at a better than expected 6.4% annual pace in the last quarter failed to entice wary investors focused on weaker U.S. corporate earnings.

Germany’s DAX was up 0.3% at 12,137 and the CAC 40 in France edged 0.2% higher to 5,543. Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.1% to 7,460. Wall Street looked set for a tepid start, with the futures for the Dow and the S&P 500 both up 0.2%.

In Asian trading, the Shanghai Composite index gained 0.3% to 3,263.12, failing to match Tuesday’s 2.4% rally.

The 6.4% pace of expansion in China’s economy in January-March was in line with Beijing’s official annual target for 6-6.5% growth and suggests government efforts to halt a slowdown are working.

However, it matched the previous quarter for the weakest growth since 2009 and did little to spur buying enthusiasm.

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“It’s not entirely clear what is behind this strength. Growth in industrial sales for export edged up last month from 4.2% year-on-year to 5.7% but doesn’t stand out as especially strong,” Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics said in a commentary.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index gained 0.3% to 22,277.97 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was flat at 30,124.68. The S&P ASX 200 in Australia lost 0.3% to 6,256.40 and South Korea’s Kospi edged 0.1% lower to 2,245.89.

Shares rose in Taiwan and Singapore.

On Wall Street investors are sizing up the latest batch of company earnings reports, with analysts forecasting first-quarter results for S&P 500 companies overall will be the weakest in nearly three years.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose gained 36 cents to $64.41 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 1% to settle at $64.05 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, the international standard, added 35 cents to $72.07 per barrel. It picked up 0.8% to close at $71.72 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 111.97 Japanese yen from 112.01 yen. The euro strengthened to $1.1305 from $1.1282.

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