Asia stocks rise on earnings, await US growth data

FILE - This Monday, July 15, 2013 file photo shows the American flag and Wall St. street sign outside the New York Stock Exchange, in New York. European and Asian stocks rose Tuesday, July 29, 2014 ahead of a string of U.S. and Chinese economic reports later this week and despite the possibility of more sanctions on Russia. Wall Street was expected to rise on the open. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

TOKYO (AP) — Asian stocks rose Wednesday ahead of U.S. economic data and as cheery earnings from major Japanese companies such as Honda Motor Co. countered a lower close on Wall Street.

KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 recouped losses at the open to rise 0.3 percent to 15,662.84 in morning trading. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.8 percent to 24,825.00. South Korea's Kospi added 0.9 percent to 2,079.40. Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.7 percent to 5,627.30.

HAPPY HONDA: Honda shares added 3 percent after a strong quarterly earnings report Tuesday, released after Tokyo stock trading closed, which prompted the Japanese automaker to raise its full year projections. The cheap yen is working as a plus for export manufacturers such as Honda, which are expanding sales in China and other emerging markets.

ANALYST TAKE: "A weaker US close and news of further sanctions against Russia is likely to limit early buying support for stocks this morning," says Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets. Still, investors are likely to hold on to stocks, rather than taking any major action, despite news of more sanctions against Russia, he said. President Barack Obama has announced expanded sanctions against Russia in response to the downing of a Malaysian airliner over an area of Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

US DATA: Markets are looking ahead to key data being released later this week. U.S. gross domestic product figures for the April-June quarter, scheduled for Wednesday, are among the most important. Federal Reserve policymakers also conclude a two-day meeting later in the day. The next day, there's a report on China's manufacturing industry, a key sign for regional growth. On Friday, the U.S. Labor Department releases its monthly jobs report.

CURRENCIES, OIL: The euro was little changed at $1.3412 from $1.3411 late Tuesday. The dollar was higher at 102.08 yen from 102.10. Benchmark U.S. crude for September delivery was down 2 cents to $100.95 a barrel.

WALL STREET: The Dow Jones industrial average fell 70.48 points, or 0.4 percent, to finish at 16,912.11 on Tuesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 slipped 8.96 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,969.95. The Nasdaq shed 2.21 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,442.70. Nine of the 10 industry groups in the S&P 500 fell. Only telecommunications stocks rose.