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Strong earnings, Wall St push Asia markets higher

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HONG KONG  -  Asia markets started the month on a high Tuesday, buoyed by another Wall Street record close and strong earnings results, as the dollar came under fresh pressure from instability in the White House.

Equity indexes from Hong Kong to Sydney all recorded positive figures, as oil extended a rally with the WTI contract trading above $50 per barrel for the first time since May.

Confidence in the global economy was also fuelled by South Korea's exports, which beat expectations to surge 20 percent in July from a year earlier, pushing Seoul shares more than one percent higher.

Tokyo stocks also ended the morning session up as investors digested positive earnings results -- and with Sony expected to report strong profits later Tuesday -- even as a strong yen capped gains.

The Japanese currency, seen as a safe haven, again hardened against the dollar to test the 110 mark as Washington was plunged into renewed uncertainty after foul-mouthed spin doctor Anthony Scaramucci was axed as White House communications director Monday, just 10 days after being named to the post.

"The Washington political train wreck and month end flow has left the US dollar teetering on the brink of a cliff," said Stephen Innes, who heads Asia-Pacific trading at Oanda.

"After struggling through a torturous time last week, and just when it appeared the USD onslaught had abated, the dollar bulls were swallowed up by the expanding 'DMV' political sinkhole."

However, the market remains cautious ahead of US payroll figures to be released on Friday, dealers said.

"It's difficult to envision more dollar selling ahead of the US economic data," Innes added.

- Another Dow record -


The Dow shrugged off the latest developments in the Trump administration to finish at its fourth straight record.

Analysts said sentiment on Wall Street remains upbeat in the wake of largely positive earnings reports. Of the nearly 300 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported results so far, more than three-quarters have exceeded earnings expectations, according to Wells Fargo Advisors.

Asian investors were looking ahead to a Reserve Bank of Australia rate decision later Tuesday, with a poll of 24 economists surveyed by Bloomberg expecting the benchmark to be held at 1.5 percent after inflation dropped below the target range in the second quarter and economic growth was weak in the first three months.

Analysts will be closely watching the RBA decision's effect on the Australian dollar, which was trading at over 80 US cents Tuesday.

"RBA Governor Philip Lowe is likely to amp up the rhetoric that the exchange rate is providing a handbrake on growth," said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at CFD and FX provider AxiTrader.

??"If Governor Lowe soft pedals today we?ll be trading 81.50/82 cents pretty quickly though."

-- Bloomberg News contributed to this report --

- Key figures around 0230 GMT -

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.2 percent at 19,959.41 (break)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.6 percent at 27,490.45

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.3 percent at 3,282.97

Euro/dollar: DOWN at 1.1832 from $1.1840

Pound/dollar: UP at 1.3219 from $1.3208

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 110.06 yen from 110.25 yen

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: UP 18 cents at $50.17 per barrel

Oil - Brent North Sea: UP 23 cents at $52.88

New York - Dow: UP 0.3 percent at 21,891.12 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 7,372.00 (close)

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Muslim Global: Strong earnings, Wall St push Asia markets higher
Strong earnings, Wall St push Asia markets higher
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