Asian Stocks Nudge Higher on Global Growth Outlook: Markets Wrap

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Asian stocks rose as better-than-expected U.S. growth data added to evidence of improving global economic health, with investors awaiting key earnings results and an announcement on who will helm the Federal Reserve.

Equities in Australia and South Korea climbed and Japan’s Topix index hovered around the highest since 2007 following another record for the S&P 500 Index Friday. Profit reports due this week from some of the world’s largest companies may show if there’s enough juice in the earnings season to propel another leg higher for global shares. Bond and currency markets continue to be gripped by speculation around who U.S. President Donald Trump will choose as the next Fed chair, with Governor Jerome Powell said to be the front-runner.

Trump last week stoked the sense of drama surrounding his choice, tweeting a video teasing an announcement he said would come this week. The president is leaning toward appointing Powell, according to three people familiar with the matter. Meantime, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda looks favored to steer monetary policy for another five years after his current term ends in April, the Nikkei newspaper reported, without citing anyone.

Earnings are coming thick and fast. Sinopec and PetroChina probably improved earnings in the third-quarter as higher oil prices helped refining margins, analysts said. Their results are in focus after Exxon and Chevron each posted double-digit profit increases on Friday. Three of China’s big four banks report on Monday, after China Construction Bank earnings last week fueled optimism that interest margins and asset quality are improving. Shares have jumped this year on optimism a regulatory crackdown has eased and growth will boost earnings.



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