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Asian stock markets mostly up after encouraging US corporate news, Fed survey

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SEOUL, South Korea - Asia's major stock markets mostly posted modest gains Thursday after positive U.S. corporate and economic news underpinned confidence.

Regional markets were buoyed by another record high for the Dow and a Federal Reserve survey that showed the U.S. economy continued expanding in all regions in June and early July, helped by strength in consumer spending.

Robust earnings reports and news that Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox offered to buy Time Warner also gave markets a perk. The offer from Twenty-First Century Fox, though rejected, was a sign that corporate deals might make a comeback.

Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.2 per cent to 15,411.75 and South Korea's Kospi was up 0.5 per cent to 2,023.75. South Korean stocks got a boost with hopes that the country's new finance minister would ease housing market regulations.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.4 per cent to 5,542.40 but Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.2 per cent to 23,483.08.

In the U.S., the Dow Jones industrial average advanced 0.5 per cent to 17,138.20, another record-high, and the broader S&P 500 rose 0.4 per cent to 1,981.57. The Nasdaq composite rose 9.58 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 4,425.97.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude for August delivery was up 24 cents at $101.44 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added $1.24 to settle at $101.20 on Thursday.

In currencies, euro remained was unchanged trading at $1.3529. The dollar fell to 101.54 yen from 101.65 yen late Wednesday.

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