BANGKOK (AP) -- An increase in new U.S. home sales and strong corporate earnings across a range of industries lifted investment sentiment in Asia, where most stock markets rose Wednesday.
Luxury handbag maker Coach, Lockheed Martin and DuPont reported results that were better than analysts expected. Netflix, which streams TV shows and movies over the Internet, announced profits that delighted investors. Meanwhile, the U.S. government reported that sales of new homes rose 1.5 percent in March, adding to evidence of a sustained housing recovery.
That offset results of a survey into manufacturing conditions among the 17 European Union countries that use the euro. The monthly purchasing managers' index fell to a 3-month low in April.
"Sentiment was upbeat yesterday as solid US earnings and new home sales data helped equities shrug off disappointing PMI data earlier in the day," Gary Yau at Credit Agricole CIB said in a commentary.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index jumped 1.8 percent to 13,772.98, trading above 13,700 for the first time in nearly five years. South Korea's Kospi rose 1 percent to 1,936.83. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 1.4 percent to 5,087.90.
Hong Kong and mainland Chinese stocks also climbed on expectations that the central government might take action to boost the Chinese economy after recent data showed growth lagging in the world's No. 2 economy.
"Because the macroeconomic situation is still bad, we are expecting there might be some new policy coming out," said Linus Yip, strategist at First Shanghai Securities in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 1.3 percent to 22,088.95. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.7 percent to 2,199.41 and the Shenzhen Composite Index rose 1.3 percent to 935.07. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines also rose.
Among individual stocks, Japanese vehicle maker Mitsubishi Motors Corp. jumped more than 16 percent after raising its group net profit forecast for the year ending March 2013, Kyodo News reported.
On Wall Street, corporate earnings propelled all three major indexes higher. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 1.1 percent, to close at 14,719.46. The S&P 500 index rose 1 percent to 1,578.78. The Nasdaq composite rose 1.1 percent to 3,269.33.
Later Wednesday in the U.S., consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble, drug maker Eli Lilly and Boeing will release earnings. United Parcel Service, Exxon Mobil and Amazon are among the corporations that will do so on Thursday.
Benchmark oil for June delivery was up 42 cents to $89.60 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 1 cent to close at $89.18 a barrel on the Nymex on Tuesday.
In currencies, the euro rose to $1.2997 from $1.2991 late Tuesday in New York. The dollar fell to 99.39 yen from 99.44 yen.
- Investment & Company Information