U.S. stocks advanced broadly at the beginning of a new earnings season, which started with J.P. Morgan Chase&Co (a Dow component), whose second-quarter profit rose 5.2% and shares climbed 1.4%. Earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to fall 4.5% in the second quarter. That would mean the first fall since the third quarter of 2012. Analysts had also expected declines in the first quarter amid lower oil prices and a strong dollar. However, profits actually rose by 0.8%.
Analysts note that U.S. stocks are still sensitive to developments in Greece and prospects of Fed interest rates.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 75.90 points, or 0.4%, to 18,053.58. The S&P 500 increased 9.35 points, or 0.5%, to 2,108.95. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 33.38 points, or 0.7%, to 5,104.89.
The U.S. Department of Commerce reported Tuesday that retail sales fell 0.3% in June, suggesting that consumer spending may weaken. Economists expected a 0.3% growth.
In Asia this morning Hong Kong Hang Seng slid 0.49%, or 122.48 points, to 24,998.43. China Shanghai Composite Index declined by 2.47%, or 96.84 points, to 3,827.65. Meanwhile the Nikkei rose 0.35%, or 70.75 points, to 20,456.08.
China's National Bureau of Statistics reported Wednesday that the country's gross domestic product expanded by 7% in the second quarter, compared to the same period last year. This growth rate is slightly faster than the 6.9% reading expected by economists and it's in line with the 7% growth target for the full year.
China industrial production rose by 6.3% y/y in Q2 (0.1% below Q1 2015).
The Bank of Japan left its monetary policy unchanged and reiterated that the country's economy continued recovering at a moderate pace.