- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 16, 2018

SINGAPORE (AP) - World stock markets were mostly higher Tuesday after strong earnings reports in the United States.

KEEPING SCORE: France’s CAC 40 added 0.4 percent to 5,116, while Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.2 percent to 7,016. Germany’s DAX rose 0.6 percent to 11,687. Italy’s FTSE MIB jumped 1.1 percent to 19,498.17, avoided last-minute delays in presenting a budget plan. The proposal raises the deficit to as much as 2.4 percent of GDP next year, in defiance of European Union guidance.

U.S. shares were set for an upbeat open, with Dow futures gaining 0.6 percent and S&P 500 futures up 0.5 percent.

EARNINGS: Among the companies reporting stronger earnings figures were bank Morgan Stanley, Johnson & Johnson, which is the world’s biggest maker of health care products, and health insurer UnitedHealth. The reports suggest company profits have been helped by the government’s tax cut as well as the overall strength of the economy, which has seen unemployment drop steadily. They augur well for the rest of the earnings season, with thousands of more companies to report in coming weeks.

U.S. TREASURY REPORT: The U.S. Treasury will release a currency report later Tuesday. Reports that U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was advised against labeling China as a currency manipulator have raised hopes it won’t do further damage to relations. Mnuchin met with Yi Gang, the head of China’s central bank, on the sidelines of the IMF-World Bank annual meeting last week and said they had a “constructive discussion.” But Mnuchin expressed concern about the weakness of the yuan, which weakened against the dollar in recent months.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rallied 1.3 percent to 22,549.24. The Kospi in South Korea was flat at 2,145.12. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index, which has fallen 22 percent since early January, was 0.1 percent higher at 25,462.26. The Shanghai Composite dropped 0.9 percent to 2,546.33. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6 percent to 5,869.90. Shares rose in Taiwan, Indonesia and Thailand but fell in Singapore.

CHINESE INFLATION: The National Bureau of Statistics said China’s consumer price index gained 2.5 percent in September from a year earlier, supported largely by fresh food prices and in line with market expectations. This follows a 2.3 percent increase in August. The country’s producer price index gained 3.6 percent from a year earlier, slowing from the previous month. Rising inflation is a double-edged sword. The central bank has tended to shrug off rising prices, but the trend could limit its room for loosening monetary policy in coming months.

ENERGY: U.S. benchmark crude oil lost 55 cents to $71.24 per barrel. The contract rose 0.6 percent to close at $71.78 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, gave up 59 cents to $80.19. It gained 0.4 percent to $80.78 in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 112.04 yen from 111.78 yen late Monday. The euro edged up to $1.1583 from $1.1580.

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