BANGKOK — Shares were mixed in Asia on Wednesday after a modestly high finish on Wall Street that extended the market’s gains into a fourth week. The Nikkei 225 index rose 0.6 percent to 21,431.49 despite news that Japan’s exports sank 8.4 percent in January from a year earlier, far more than forecast. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped 0.9 percent to 28,489,50, while the Shanghai Composite slipped 0.1 percent to 2,752.07. South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.0 percent to 2,228.12 and the S&P ASX 200 slipped 0.2 percent to 6,096.50.Uncertainty over the costly trade conflict between the U.S. and China has clouded the outlook for trade as well as company profits. But U.S. stocks shook off an early wobble on Wall Street as solid earnings from Walmart encouraged investors to bid up other retailers and consumer goods companies. Communication services stocks and banks also contributed to the broad gains.Roughly 81 percent of S&P 500 companies have reported results for the last three months of 2018, delivering earnings growth of 13.1 percent versus a year earlier, according to FactSet. First-quarter snapshots are expected to result in a 2.5 percent decline in earnings, however.The benchmark S&P 500 index gained 0.1 percent to… Read full this story
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