SYDNEY – Asian shares pulled ahead as corporate earnings and a ceasefire in northern Syria helped prop up sentiment, though the backdrop of trade and Brexit uncertainties was enough to prevent a decisive shift towards riskier assets.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan advanced 0.4 percent with Japan’s Nikkei rising 0.66 percent to a one-year high. Australian shares climbed 0.5 percent while South Korea’s KOSPI eased 0.1 percent.
South Korea earlier reported third quarter growth slightly below expectations, while a private survey showed Japanese factory activity shrank at the fastest pace in over three years in October, hurt by slowing global demand and trade frictions.
Chinese shares opened higher with the blue-chip index rising 0.37 percent.
Risk appetite was also aided after US President Donald Trump lifted sanctions on Turkey saying a ceasefire in northern Syria was now permanent.
“US-China trade friction seems to be entering a truce, a no-deal Brexit looks increasingly likely to be avoided, and the US’s posture against Turkey appears to have been softening,” JPMorgan analyst Tohru Sasaki wrote in a note pointing to reasons for a rally in Nikkei.
JPMorgan expects gains in the Japanese index to extend into year-end led by share buy-backs.
On Wall Street overnight, the Dow and the Nasdaq added 0.2 percent each while the S&P gained 0.3 percent.
Telsa shares jumped 21 percent in after-hours trading following a surprise third quarter profit. Microsoft also posted forecast-beating profit and revenue numbers after the closing bell though the outlook was darkened by slower-than-expected take-up of its Azure cloud services.
Earlier, shares of US industrial bellwethers Boeing Co. and Caterpillar Inc ended about 1 percent higher each despite big earnings misses.
RBC Capital Markets’ chief economist Tom Porcelli pointed to consistently alarming headlines since the first quarter of 2018 suggesting poor Caterpillar earnings meant a recession was round the corner, though that has yet to transpire. – Reuters