Asian stock markets were modestly higher as investors eyed earnings from major companies for clues about the health of the global economy.
The moderate advance came after a mixed finish on Wall Street, where traders were reluctant to place major bets ahead of quarterly reports from U.S. companies.
But investors were pleased by news after the closing bell that Aluminum maker Alcoa Inc., the first of the 30 companies that make up the Dow Jones average to announce its earnings, said it was profitable again after three losing quarters.
Markets found additional girding after Australia’s unemployment rate unexpectedly dropped to 5.7 percent last month, news that caused the country’s currency to surge to a 14-month high and added to optimism about an economic recovery.
Still, many investors were treading cautiously as they awaited more earnings reports in the U.S. as well as the reopening of mainland China’s markets Friday, which have been closed the last week for a national holiday, analysts said
“We’ve already had a good rebound for several days, so at this moment we’re on the sidelines and looking for more news,” said Linus Yip, a strategist at First Shanghai Securities in Hong Kong.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average rose 19.56 points, or 0.2 percent, to 9,819.16 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 81.95 points, or 0.4 percent, to 21,323.54.
Elsewhere, South Korea’s Kospi inched up 0.1 percent. Australia’s index jumped 1.4 percent.
On Wall Street overnight, the Dow fell 5.67, or 0.1 percent, to 9,725.58.
The S&P 500 index rose 2.86, or 0.3 percent, to 1,057.58, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 6.76, or 0.3 percent, to 2,110.33.
U.S. futures pointed to a higher open Thursday. Dow futures were up 74, or 0.8 percent, at 9,747.
Oil prices rose above $70 a barrel in Asia amid a weakening U.S. dollar and mixed crude inventory data. Benchmark crude for November delivery was up 68 cents at $70.25; the contract lost $1.31 overnight.
The dollar slumped further, trading at 88.18 yen from 88.60 yen. The euro gained to $1.4756 from $1.4687.