Asian Equities Expected Higher after U.S. Lead

Asian markets appear set for a higher open on Wednesday, supported by an inspiring lead from Wall Street, but a drop in oil prices may cap gains.  Australia’s S&P ASX 200 index opened little changed in early trade, with earnings in focus today.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia – the country’s number one lender by market value – slipped 0.2 percent despite reporting an 8 percent rise in first half cash profit. Domino’s Pizza and property group Stockland notched up 15.6 and 2.2 percent each on the back of improved profits, but stronger first half results failed to lift shares of insurer Suncorp Group and building materials maker Boral, which dropped 1.1 and 1.9 percent, respectively.

Overnight, U.S. stocks finished higher on hopes of a resolution in the Greek debt negotiations, as well as better-than-expected revenues from Coca-Cola.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 0.8 percent, with Coca-Cola leading gains after posting earnings of an adjusted 44 cents per share for the fourth quarter, two cents above estimates. The S&P 500 added 1 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq finished 1.3 percent higher.

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