BEIJING - Asian stock markets were mostly higher Monday, shrugging off jitters about stiffer Western sanctions against Russia, after China reported strong corporate profits. Benchmarks in Paris and London also rose but many other European markets drifted lower.
In morning European trade, France's CAC 40 rose 0.4 percent to 4,346.95 while Germany's DAX shed 0.1 percent to 9,635.95. Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.1 percent to 6,796.53. Futures augured a muted session on Wall Street. Dow and S&P 500 futures were both down 0.1 percent. On Friday, the Dow lost 0.7 percent while the S&P was off 0.5 percent.
China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index surged 2.4 percent to 2,177.95. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 added 0.5 percent to 15,529.40 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.9 percent at 24,428.63. South Korea's Kospi rose 0.7 percent to 2,048.81. Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 bucked the regional trend and was off 0.1 percent at 5,577.40.
Profits at China's industrial enterprises soared 17.9 percent in June over a year earlier, the government reported, boosting confidence that the world's No. 2 economy has stabilized after a slowdown. For the first half of the year, profits were up 11.4 percent, a new high for that period.
Asian stocks rose despite declines in U.S. and European markets on Friday after weak earnings from Visa and Amazon and an agreement by European governments to tighten sanctions on Russia. They will limit trade in defense, technology and other goods and proposed restricting access to European capital markets for Russian state-owned companies. Tensions have escalated after a Malaysia Airlines jet was shot down over a part of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists, killing all 298 people on board.
"There is no sign that geopolitics is de-escalating, which should benefit safe-haven assets," while the "macro backdrop in Asia should be one of improvement," said Credit Agricole CIB in a report.
Shares of Nissan Motor Co. rose 0.8 percent ahead of the automaker's quarterly earnings report. After the close of trading in Tokyo, it said April-June fiscal first quarter earnings rose nearly 37 percent to 112 billion yen ($1.1 billion), a positive start to a slew of Japanese earnings this week.
Traders were looking ahead to U.S. economic data due out this week. Second-quarter gross domestic product due to be reported Wednesday is expected to show growth picking up. Forecasters expect employment on Friday to show the United States added 235,000 to 255,000 new jobs in July.
The euro edged up to $1.3440 from the previous session's $1.3431. The dollar rose to 101.88 yen from 101.83 yen. The price of benchmark U.S. crude for September delivery declined 39 cents to $101.70 per barrel.