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Overnight Markets: Dow scales five-year high on strong earnings

Overnight Markets: Dow scales five-year high on strong earnings

US equities rose on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average scaling a five-year high, after companies including Pfizer Inc. and Valero Energy Corp. reported strong earnings.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 72 points, or 0.52%, at 13,954. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up eight points, or 0.51%, at 1,508. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down one point at 3,154.

Shares of jumped nearly 7% in extended trade after the world's largest Internet retailer posted fourth-quarter revenue that surged 22% to $21.27 billion.

Defensive shares gained the most, with drugmaker Pfizer up 3.2% after posting earnings and AT&T gaining 1.6%. Healthcare and telecom services sectors were also up.

Energy sector advanced in response to strong earnings from Valero Energy Corp and a hedge fund move to break up Hess Corp to boost investor returns. Valero shares jumped 12.8% and Hess gained 9%.

On the negative side, Ford fell 4.6% after forecast a wider loss in its European segment. Seagate Technology declined 9.4% and BMC Software was down 6.3% after disappointing outlook from both the companies.

D.R. Horton Inc jumped 11.8% after the homebuilder’s quarterly profit more than doubled.

Investors will focus on an announcement from the Federal Reserve today as the Federal Open Market Committee is likely to renew its commitment to asset buying.

In Asia, shares rose on Wednesday in morning trade amid speculation the US Fed will renew its commitment to asset purchases today.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.5% to 132 as of 10:49 a.m. in Tokyo. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 1.1%, headed for its highest close since April 2010. The broader Topix Index advanced 0.9%.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.3%, rising for a tenth day and headed for its longest winning streak since October 2003. Taiwan’s Taiex Index climbed 0.2%.

South Korea’s Kospi Index advanced 0.2% after the nation’s industrial output unexpectedly climbed. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 1.1%. The Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.2%.

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