Corporate Earnings Boost Global Markets

By Riva Gold and Kenan Machado Features Dow Jones Newswires

Stocks in Europe and Asia mostly started the week a touch higher, supported by better-than-expected corporate results and a climb in commodity prices.

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The Stoxx Europe 600 edged up 0.3% shortly after markets opened from its lowest close since April, following gains in Hong Kong.

Europe's banking sector rose 0.7% and index heavyweight HSBC Holdings PLC climbed 3.1% after the global banking giant beat profit forecasts and announced plans for a $2 billion share buyback in the second half of the year.

Oil and metals prices also moved higher, supporting shares of energy and mining companies. Brent crude oil was last up 0.5% at $52.48 a barrel, following its biggest weekly gains of the year.

Three-month copper futures in London were up 1.1% at $6,412 a ton, near a two-year high, while Chinese iron-ore futures hit their best levels in about four months after an official gauge of Chinese manufacturing activity showed a sharper-than-expected decline but remained in expansionary territory, with the manufacturing purchasing-managers' index at 51.4 in July from 51.7 in June.

Yields on 10-year U.S. Treasurys edged up to 2.293% from 2.291% on Friday, while German bund yields rose to 0.551% from 0.543% ahead of a reading on eurozone inflation due later in the morning. Yields move inversely to prices. The euro edged down 0.2% to $1.1735.

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Earlier, Asian stock markets climbed in late trading to conclude a robust month for most major bourses in the region.

A solid start to earnings season and higher commodity prices helped stocks but there have been losses more recently as the possibility of tax and infrastructure overhauls in the has U.S. faded, said Hao Hong, head of research at Bocom International in Hong Kong.

Over the past 30 years, August has been U.S. stocks' worst month, as summer vacations in the Northern Hemisphere sap market liquidity.

Monday's stock trading was also colored by last week's declines in the dollar, which finished Friday at its lowest level since September. The WSJ Dollar Index, which tracks the dollar against a basket of 16 currencies, was last up 0.1%.

Japan's Nikkei was down 0.2%, on track for its first monthly loss since March, as the currency has strengthened around 1.5% against the dollar since the start of July.

But a number of exporter and electronics stocks, which typically fall when the yen strengthens, rose Monday helped by strong earnings growth from Hitachi and Kyocera, whose shares hit their best levels in two years.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was up 1.3% on Monday, on track to end the month around 5.8% higher. The index hasn't logged a monthly decline this year, its longest winning streak since 2007. The Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.6%.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.3% on commodity-stock strength. BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto jumped over 2%, in line with the jump in Chinese iron-ore futures.

Investors showed little reaction to the missile firing by North Korea. South Korea's Kospi, which posted its biggest decline of the year on Friday, was flat on Monday.

Biman Mukherji and Robb M. Stewart contributed to this article.

Write to Riva Gold at riva.gold@wsj.com and Kenan Machado at kenan.machado@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 31, 2017 03:49 ET (07:49 GMT)