HONG KONG — Asian shares were mostly higher but European shares fell Friday as healthy U.S. earnings and progress on President Donald Trump’s tax reform plan weren’t enough to sustain momentum in global markets.
KEEPING SCORE: European shares were mostly lower in early trading. France’s CAC 40 shed 0.2 percent to 5,324.13 and Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.4 percent to 7,361.14. Germany’s DAX slipped 0.1 percent to 13,040.40. Wall Street was poised to open lower. Dow futures dipped 0.1 percent to 23,410.00 and broader S&P 500 futures lost 0.1 percent to 2,581.30.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.2 percent to end at 22,396.80 while South Korea’s Kospi ended nearly flat at 2,533.99. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 0.6 percent to 29,199.04 but the Shanghai Composite index lost 0.5 percent to 3,382.91. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.2 percent to 5,957.30 and share benchmarks in Southeast Asia were mostly higher.
U.S. TAXES: Trump’s overhaul for corporate and personal taxes made some progress as U.S. House Republicans voted to pass the $1.5 trillion package, but it still faces many more steps. The Senate still has to approve its own, different version. One big feature of both versions is that they would slash the 35 percent corporate tax rate to 20 percent, which would boost companies’ bottom lines.
THE TAKE: “Progress on U.S. tax reform continues, but there is a way to go yet,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital, who estimated there’s a 70 percent chance it will be passed by March. “At the very least this will provide a big boost to high tax-paying US companies, investors in which look to have given up on tax reform/cuts.”
EARNINGS ROUNDUP: Strong third-quarter earnings reports from big U.S. companies helped lift investor sentiment. Retailers Wal-Mart Stores and Gap and network equipment maker Cisco Systems beat analyst expectations with their earnings results.
WEEK AHEAD: Investors are now looking ahead for potentially market moving economic data and other news on the horizon. U.S. monthly housing starts are due for release later Friday while next week there will be Fed meeting minutes and preliminary European and U.S. purchasing managers’ indexes.
CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 112.52 yen from 113.03 yen on Thursday. The euro rose to $1.1793 from $1.1773.
ENERGY: Oil futures were mixed. Benchmark U.S. crude rose 35 cents to $55.49 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract slipped 19 cents to settle at $55.14 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 11 cents to $61.47 a barrel in London.