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Global stocks bolstered by US earnings, home sales

HONG KONG/SEOUL -- Global stocks mostly rose Wednesday, bolstered by solid U.S. earnings and home sales as tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine eased.

Europe markets opened with moderate gains. Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.2 percent to 6,806.46 and Germany's DAX added 0.4 percent to 9,771.38. France's CAC 40 also advanced 0.4 percent to 4,386.53.

Markets have been roiled the past week by heightened tensions between Russia and the West after a Malaysia Airlines jet was shot down over an area of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russia separatists, killing all 298 people on board. The tensions eased Tuesday after the separatists released a train packed with bodies and handed over the aircraft's black boxes.

After U.S. markets closed on Tuesday, two tech giants boosted investor sentiment with their better-than-expected earnings reports.

Apple Inc. reported a 12 percent increase in its quarterly profit, exceeding analysts' estimate. The company said its iPhone shipments rose 13 percent over a year earlier. Media reports have said Apple's Taiwanese contractors are ramping up production of its next iPhone models which are expected to feature a bigger screen than their predecessors.

Microsoft's CEO painted a rosy vision for the company's future after saying its profit excluding items related to the absorption of Nokia was higher than forecasts.

U.S. home resale numbers also bolstered sentiment. Sales of previously owned homes rose 2.6 percent in June, a third straight monthly gain and the highest level in eight months. The report from the National Association of Realtors provided the evidence that housing is regaining lost momentum.

“A combination of U.S. earnings optimism, positive U.S. economic data and a slight downgrade to Russia risk has ignited markets today,” Stan Shamu, a market strategist at IG, said in a commentary.

Asian Shares Extend Gains on Wall St. Rally

Asian markets mostly rose Wednesday, adding to the previous day's rally, following a positive lead from Wall Street while concerns over the Ukraine air crash crisis ease.

Sydney rose 0.6 percent, or 33.41 points, to close at 5,576.7 and Shanghai added 0.15 percent, or 3.01 points, to 2,078.49, while Hong Kong put on 0.80 percent, or 189.76 points, to 23,971.87.

However, Seoul was marginally lower, giving up 0.61 points to finish at 2,028.32 while Tokyo slipped 0.10 percent, or 14.72 points, to 15,328.56 as a stronger yen weighed on exporters.

Jakarta rose 0.50 percent a day after officials declared business-friendly and reform-minded Joko Widodo the winner of the country's tight presidential election.

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