Asian shares advance as China reports recovery in exports

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Shares were mostly higher in Asia on Tuesday following an upbeat finish on Wall Street. Chinese benchmarks surged after Beijing reported that exports rebounded in April, jumping nearly 22 percent from a year earlier. Oil prices fell back from a three-year high.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock index added 0.2 percent to 22,508.69 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index climbed 1.4 percent to 30,403.82. The Shanghai Composite index jumped 0.7 percent to 3,159.83. South Korea’s Kospi gave up early gains to lost 0.6 percent, ending at 2,445.86, while Australia’s S&P ASX 200 edged less than 0.1 percent higher to 6,087.30. Shares were higher in Singapore and Taiwan but fell 2.1 percent in Indonesia, where the government reported economic growth slowed in January-March.

CHINA TRADE: China’s exports expanded by 21.5 percent from a year earlier in April, bouncing back from a contraction the previous month. Imports expanded 12.9 percent year-on-year in dollar terms, leaving the country’s politically sensitive monthly trade surplus with the rest of the world at $28.8 billion, a turnaround from the previous month’s $5 billion deficit.

THE QUOTE: “The widening China-US trade surplus reflects the difficulty of significantly closing the trade gap between the two countries in the near term, but it is unlikely to obstruct the constructive progress made recently,” Betty Wang of ANZ said in a commentary.

WALL STREET: U.S. stocks closed modestly higher Monday, extending gains from last week, with advances for technology companies and banks outweighing losses for consumer goods companies. The S&P 500 index rose 0.3 percent to 2,672.63, while the Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.4 percent to 24,357.32. The Nasdaq added 0.8 percent to 7,265.21. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 0.9 percent to 1,578.95.

ENERGY: Oil prices fell back after a rally that had them closing above $70 a barrel for the first time since November 2014. On Monday, oil futures climbed to their highest level since November 2014 as a May 12 deadline approached for the U.S. to decide whether to remain in the nuclear agreement with Iran. Tuesday in Asia, benchmark U.S. crude oil dropped 59 cents to $70.14 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, lost 51 cents per barrel to $75.66 per barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 108.93 yen from 109.07 yen on Monday. The euro rose $1.1930 from $1.1924.

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AP Business Writer Alex Veiga contributed to this report.

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