World shares advance as earnings drive modest Wall St gains

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares were higher in Europe on Thursday after most Asian markets advanced following meager gains on Wall Street driven by a mixed set of company earnings.

The FTSE 100 in London advanced 0.6% to 7,300.45 while Germany’s DAX jumped 0.8% to 12,905.81. The CAC 40 in France picked up 0.6% to 5,689.42. Wall Street looked set for gains, with the future contract for the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.2% to 26,844.00. The future for the S&P 500 also rose 0.2% to 3,011.00.

British lawmakers have blocked Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s goal of taking Britain out of the European Union on Oct. 31, so the EU must decide on whether to postpone that deadline for a third time.

European Council President Donald Tusk has said he will recommend the bloc agree, alleviating for now fears that Britain might soon crash out of the bloc without a deal, inflicting disruptions and economic pain on both sides.

“Brexit remains of great concern, and though few developments materialized last night, the market is maintaining confidence a deal will be coming,” Stephen Innes of AxiTrader said in a report.

In Asian trading, Japan’s Nikkei 225 advanced 0.6% to 22,750.60 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong climbed 0.7% to 26,748.58. The Shanghai Composite index was flat at 2,940.92 while the Kospi in South Korea reversed early losses, gaining 0.2%, to 2,085.66. India’s Sensex lost 0.1% to 39,032.15. Shares fell in Bangkok but rose in Taiwan and most of Southeast Asia.

A preliminary measure of manufacturing for Japan, the Jibun Flash Manufacturing purchasing managers’ index hit its lowest level in more than three years, 48.5, well below the 50 level that marks the break between expansion and contraction.

While it’s still early in this earnings season, traders are trying to gauge how much the U.S. trade war with China and a slowdown in global economic growth is hurting corporate America.

Some of the companies’ earnings topped analysts’ expectations. Others put traders in a selling mood after warning that the slowing global economy and trade tensions are hitting their profits.

“With the US-China trade talks quiet for now, U.S. earnings have driven volatility and market direction this week,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary.

Several big companies are scheduled to report quarterly results on Thursday, including American Airlines Group, Amazon and Visa.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil lost 37 cents to $55.60 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose $1.49 to settle at $55.97 a barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude oil, the international standard, gave up 29 cents to $60.88. It gained $1.47 to close at $61.17 a barrel.

The dollar rose to 108.69 Japanese yen from 108.68 yen on Wednesday. The euro strengthened to $1.1142 from $1.1131.