Asian stocks mixed amid post-earnings season lull

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Asian markets meandered on Wednesday in a post-earnings season lull, as investors awaited U.S. retail sales later in the week.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 added 0.1 percent to 16,786.03 and South Korea’s Kospi added 0.2 percent to 2,046.57. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.4 percent to 22,548.55 while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 dropped 0.5 percent to 5,525.20. Stocks in Taiwan and Singapore were higher but markets in China, Indonesia and New Zealand declined.

ANALYST’S TAKE: “It’s a slow grind in markets at present, which will please many in the investment community but frustrate the day traders out there,” Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG in Melbourne, Australia, said in a daily commentary. Weston said while traders are watching the moves of the dollar, oil and interest rates, they “are not at levels likely to cause any real anxiety in broader risk sentiment.”

DATA: The Japan’s government said earlier in the day that the country’s core private-sector machinery orders grew a seasonally adjusted 8.3 percent in June from May, a rebound from two straight months of decline, Kyodo reported. The report gives an assessment of the health of business investment, Japan’s pillar of economic growth.

WALL STREET: U.S. stocks eked out small gains on Tuesday. The Dow Jones industrial average added 0.02 percent to 18,533.05. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.04 percent to 2,181.74. The Nasdaq composite index gained 0.2 percent to 5,225.48. T

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 9 cents to $42.68 per barrel in New York. The contract fell 25 cents, or 0.6 percent, to close at $42.77 per barrel on Tuesday, ending a rally after the U.S. government raised the forecast on domestic crude production. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 3 cents at $44.95 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 101.44 yen from 101.94 yen while the euro strengthened to $1.1147 from $1.1113.

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