By Wayne Cole
SYDNEY Asian shares inched ahead on Wednesday after Wall Street got a lift from encouraging corporate earnings and investors wagered a coming barrage of Chinese data would confirm the economy had at least stabilized.MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS added 0.2 percent, on top of a jump of 1.4 percent on Tuesday.Australian shares firmed 0.3 percent, while Nikkei futures NKc1 pointed to a steady start for the cash index Nikkei .N225.All eyes were on the Chinese gross domestic product (GDP) report due at 0200 GMT (10 p.m. EDT) . While there are some doubts about the reliability of the data, markets tend to take them on face value.The economy is forecast to have expanded by 6.7 percent in the year to September, underpinned by government stimulus and a hot property market. ECONCNOther data due is expected to show a slight pick-up in retail sales, industrial output and urban investment.Figures out on Tuesday showed Chinese banks extended a surprisingly strong 1.22 trillion yuan ($181 billion) of new loans in September, capping a record nine-month lending spree.Much of that growth has been driven by a booming housing market, that authorities are now trying to clamp down on without triggering a price collapse.
On Wall Street, the Dow .DJI ended Tuesday up 0.42 percent, while the S&P 500 .SPX added 0.62 percent and the Nasdaq .IXIC 0.85 percent. The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 1.5 percent to its highest level in nearly a week.Of the 52 S&P 500 companies that have reported results to date for the third quarter, 81 percent had earnings that topped average analyst estimates, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.One company seemingly disappointing investors was Intel (INTC.O), which slid 5.4 percent after the bell despite beating expectations on its earnings.
POUND UP AMID BREXIT CONFUSION
A report on U.S. consumer prices showed underlying inflation moderated slightly in September to 2.2 percent, leading the market to slightly pare back bets on a December rate hike.Fed fund futures <0#FF:> imply around a 65 percent probability of a move, down from 70 percent.Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said last week the U.S. central bank could allow inflation to run above its target.
U.S. Treasury yields dipped, in line with their UK counterparts, amid confusion on whether parliament will have to ratify Britain's exit from the European Union.British lawmakers are seen as less inclined to take a hard line on Brexit than Prime Minister Theresa May.The news headlines caught the market very short of sterling and left the pound up at $1.2297 GBP=D4, after a rally of 1 percent on Tuesday.The dollar was steady on the yen at 103.85 JPY=, after edging back from 104.20 the previous session. Against a basket of currencies it was steady at 97.861 .DXY.The euro remained vulnerable at $1.0977 EUR= ahead of Thursday's meeting of the European Central Bank where some investors wager President Mario Draghi will push back against talk of a tapering in its asset buying.In commodity markets, oil prices extended gains as an industry group's data showed an unexpected draw in U.S. crude inventories last week. [O/R]Brent crude LCOc1 was quoted around $52.10 a barrel, while U.S. crude CLc1 added 50 cents to $50.79.
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