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Asian markets swing between gains and losses

Concern corporate earnings are deteriorating amid slowing Chinese economic growth offsets optimism for the global outlook after U.S. consumer confidence exceeded estimates.

Asian markets swing between gains and losses

Asian equities oscillated between gains and losses amid optimism for the global outlook after U.S. consumer confidence exceeded estimates and concern corporate earnings are deteriorating amid slowing Chinese economic growth.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed at 121 as of 12:17 p.m. in Tokyo, after gaining as much as 0.2% and falling 0.2%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average increased 0.6%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.1%, while South Korea’s Kospi Index declined 0.2%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid 0.7% and China’s Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.9%. Markets in Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia are shut for holidays.

Equities gained after confidence among U.S. consumers unexpectedly improved in August, boosting the prospect of stronger household spending this quarter, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment.

The Conference Board’s index of U.S. leading economic indicators, a gauge of the outlook for the next three to six months, climbed more than forecast in July.

In Europe, leaders will meet this week to hammer out ways to combat the region’s debt crisis.

In China, new-home prices surged in July from a month earlier in 49 of 70 cities tracked by the government, the National Bureau of Statistics said. That was the most since May last year and compared with 25 cities in June.

In corporate news, China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co., the nation’s third- largest insurer, slid 1.6% in Hong Kong after its profit slumped.

Country Garden Holdings Co., a Chinese builder of apartments, fell 0.4% as rising house prices increased concern China will tighten property curbs.

Honda Motor Co., which depends on North America for almost half of its auto sales, rose 0.9% in Tokyo. LG Innotek, a cellular phone parts maker, climbed 5% in Seoul after a report that sales of its camera modules will grow.

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