TOKYO (AP) — Stock markets were mostly higher Wednesday after news that China’s economy grew at a better than expected 6.4% annual pace in the last quarter failed to entice wary investors focused on weaker U.S. corporate earnings.
Germany’s DAX was up 0.3% at 12,137 and the CAC 40 in France edged 0.2% higher to 5,543. Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.1% to 7,460. Wall Street looked set for a tepid start, with the futures for the Dow and the S&P 500 both up 0.2%.
In Asian trading, the Shanghai Composite index gained 0.3% to 3,263.12, failing to match Tuesday’s 2.4% rally.
The 6.4% pace of expansion in China’s economy in January-March was in line with Beijing’s official annual target for 6-6.5% growth and suggests government efforts to halt a slowdown are working.
However, it matched the previous quarter for the weakest growth since 2009 and did little to spur buying enthusiasm.
“It’s not entirely clear what is behind this strength. Growth in industrial sales for export edged up last month from 4.2% year-on-year to 5.7% but doesn’t stand out as especially strong,” Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics said in a commentary.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index gained 0.3% to 22,277.97 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was flat at 30,124.68. The S&P ASX 200 in Australia lost 0.3% to 6,256.40 and South Korea’s Kospi edged 0.1% lower to 2,245.89.
Shares rose in Taiwan and Singapore.
On Wall Street investors are sizing up the latest batch of company earnings reports, with analysts forecasting first-quarter results for S&P 500 companies overall will be the weakest in nearly three years.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose gained 36 cents to $64.41 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 1% to settle at $64.05 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, the international standard, added 35 cents to $72.07 per barrel. It picked up 0.8% to close at $71.72 per barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 111.97 Japanese yen from 112.01 yen. The euro strengthened to $1.1305 from $1.1282.