Global stocks were broadly higher Wednesday, supported by a bounce in the technology sector and better-than-expected corporate results.
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The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.3% in the early minutes of trading after its biggest daily decline this month, tracking gains across Asian markets.
Technology companies were among the best performers in both regions after double-digit gains in Netflix Inc. shares helped send the Nasdaq Composite to its first record close in six weeks.
Company results also drove steep swings in individual stocks. Shares of Swedish household-appliance maker Electrolux AB were up 5.7% in early trading after it posted a 21% rise in net profit, while ASML Holding was up around 4% after it offered an upbeat projection for sales growth. Shares of Assa Abloy AB fell around 7% after reporting second-quarter results, while Reckitt Benckiser Group added 1.5% after McCormick & Co. said it acquired its food division for $4.2 billion.
Gains in European stocks also came as the euro paused its rally a day before the European Central Bank's closely watched meeting. The euro was down 0.2% at $1.1534 from a multimonth high, while German bund yields edged down to 0.550% from 0.558%. Yields move inversely to prices.
"While the ECB appears prepared to shift towards a less expansionary monetary policy, the turnaround will be gradual and cautious," said strategists at Commerzbank.
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The dollar recovered slightly from a bruising session. The dollar, which fell to its lowest close since October on Tuesday following the failure of Senate Republicans to replace the Affordable Care Act, was last up 0.1% against a basket of 16 currencies.
"The market's patience in the U.S. government is truly being tested," analysts at ANZ Research said. "The failure of Congress to vote to repeal and replace Obamacare puts tax reform and fiscal expenditure plans at risk."
Earlier, stocks were broadly higher in Asia-Pacific trading hours, with Australian stocks leading the way on strong gains among the country's biggest banks.
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.8%, as shares of the country's "big four" banks all rose 3% or more. Australian regulators raised capital requirements for banks, but set a deadline of 2020 to reach those targets, easing near-term fears of capital raising that could dilute current shares.
Australian bank stocks had slumped in recent weeks because of disappointing earnings and expectations that the new capital measures would be more onerous.
Asian tech stocks continued to move higher Wednesday, supported by the Nasdaq Composite's climb. Lens maker Largan jumped 2.4% and Tencent rose 3.1% as both hit new peaks, driving a 0.2% rise in Taiwan's Taiex and a 0.5% rise in Hong Kong's Heng Seng.
The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.3% while the Shenzhen Composite rose 1.6%, recovering from a rough start to the week. Japan's Nikkei Stock Average added 0.1% as investors were cautious ahead of a policy statement from the Bank of Japan later this week.
Futures pointed to small opening gains for the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite later Wednesday. The second-quarter earnings season is set to continue with a reports from Morgan Stanley, American Express Co. and Alcoa Corp.
Demi Guo contributed to this article.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
July 19, 2017 03:45 ET (07:45 GMT)