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Jan 16, 12:37 AM EST

Asian stocks advance as investors look ahead to US earnings


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AP Photo/Andy Wong

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BEIJING (AP) -- Asian stock markets were mostly higher Tuesday following a holiday for U.S. markets as investors looked ahead to American corporate earnings.

KEEPING SCORE: The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.3 percent to 3,420.80 and Tokyo's Nikkei 225 added 0.8 percent to 23,905.40. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 1.3 percent to 31,751.60 and Seoul's Kospi advanced 0.4 percent to 2,513.51. India's Sensex added 0.1 percent to 34,873.21 while markets in New Zealand, Taiwan and Southeast Asia also gained. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 shed 0.4 percent to 6,056.20.

EARNINGS OUTLOOK: Investors are watching for the impact of Washington's latest tax changes on U.S. companies as earnings season for the final quarter of 2017 gets into full swing. Many multinational corporations are taking a one-off charge for bringing home money held abroad. But investors expect them to benefit in the long run from the decision to cut the standard tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent and are bidding up their share prices.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "Market focus will soon shift to the corporate earnings season, which serves as a quarterly test to a market full of complacency sentiment," Margaret Yang of CMC Markets said in a commentary. "Major markets including the U.S., EU, Japan and China have seen four to five consecutive quarter of earnings improvement, and this is likely to continue as global cyclical upswing is gaining momentum."

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 20 cents to $64.50 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract advanced 50 cents to $64.30 on Monday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 26 cents to $70.00 in London. It gained 39 cents the previous session to $70.26.

CURRENCY: The dollar gained to 110.93 yen from 110.51 yen. The euro slipped to $1.2264 from $1.2266.

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