Asian stocks follow U.S. up, Mexican peso hits six-week high

An employee works at a front desk of the Singapore Exchange head office in Singapore April 22, 2015.   REUTERS/Edgar Su/File PhotoAn employee works at a front desk of the Singapore Exchange head office in Singapore April 22, 2015. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

Asian stocks have advanced, propelled by strong U.S. earnings and oil prices near a 15-month high, while the Mexican peso hit a six-week high.

European shares were set to open flat to slightly higher, with financial spreadbetters predicting Britain’s FTSE 100 and France’s CAC 40 would start the day little changed and Germany’s DAX would be up 0.2 percent. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.2 percent. Japan’s Nikkei extended gains to 1.1 percent as the yen weakened.

China’s CSI 300 was little changed, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index climbed 0.6 percent. The U.S. dollar held steady at 18.5027 Mexican pesos, after earlier touching 18.44 pesos, the lowest since Sept. 9. It is down 2.6 percent this week against the Mexican currency.

With 70 companies in the S&P 500 having reported earnings through Wednesday morning, 80 percent have topped expectations. Third quarter earnings are now expected to increase 0.5 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, which would be the first quarter of growth in five.

Energy shares also contributed to the gains on Wall Street, as oil prices jumped after a surprisingly large inventory drop of 5.2 million barrels, compared with a forecast for a 2.7-million barrel build. It was the sixth week of declines in seven weeks.

U.S. crude slid 0.5 percent to $51.34 a barrel on Thursday, after surging 2.6 percent to close at $51.60 in the previous session. It earlier touched $51.93, the highest since July 2015.

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