Asian stocks rise following uptick on Wall Street

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A currency trader watches monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021. Asian stocks were mostly higher Wednesday as traders mirrored overnight gains on Wall Street during another busy earnings week. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Asian stocks were mostly higher Wednesday as traders mirrored overnight gains on Wall Street during another busy earnings week.

Both the Kospi in South Korea and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 1.3%, to 3,279.65 and 26,526.98 respectively. The Shanghai Composite index gained 0.9% to 3,477.17 in afternoon trading.

Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.4% higher at 7,503.20. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 fell 0.2% to 27,584.08, however.

Shares rose elsewhere in Asia with the exception of Malaysia and Thailand.

Traders are awaiting U.S. jobs data due Friday. They are also watching the coronavirus' delta variant spreading in the U.S., Europe and Asia, and particularly in China.

Although China's recent outbreak is small, it is the worst China has had since the pandemic's emergence in the central city of Wuhan a year and a half ago.

“The small but significant rise in cases in China is grabbing attention,” Robert Carnell of ING said in a note.

“Tough restrictions on movement and travel already in place will likely bring the desired results. But the delta variant is a particularly slippery little critter, and the concern for us, and we imagine, many others, is how quickly this will occur, and at what economic cost in the meantime,” he said.

Over on Wall Street, technology and health care companies spurred indexes higher on Tuesday. The S&P 500 overcame a wobbly start to finish 0.8% higher, at 4,423.15.

Earnings have boosted sentiments. Roughly nine out of 10 companies on the S&P 500 index have posted earnings that beat analysts’ expectations. Over a 100 more companies will table reports this week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.8% to 35,116.40, while the Nasdaq composite picked up 0.6% to 14,761.29. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks rose 0.4% to 2,223.58.

Some traders sold US-listed Chinese companies. E-commerce giant Alibaba Group slipped 1.4% and internet search giant Baidu Inc. fell 1.5% on Tuesday.

Games and social media giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. plunged 7.3%. Its Hong Kong-listed shares jumped 3.1% on Wednesday.

Concerns are brewing over the China's crackdown on technology, Edward Moya of Oanda said.

“US-listed Chinese companies are getting battered as some investors don’t have the stomach for this regulatory shakedown,” he added.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude lost 12 cents to $70.44 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the price basis for international oils, stayed flat at $72.41 per barrel in London.

The U.S. dollar advanced to 109.10 Japanese yen from 109.05 yen on Tuesday. The euro rose to $1.1874 from $1.1868.