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Global stocks turn higher on upbeat corporate earnings

Global stocks turned higher on Tuesday after upbeat U.S. corporate earnings reports and robust Chinese economic growth data.

KEEPING SCORE: France's CAC 40 was up 0.4 percent to 5,333, while Germany's DAX added 0.7 percent to 12,479. Britain's FTSE 100 was 0.1 percent higher at 7,202. U.S. shares were set to drift higher with the Dow future gaining 0.5 percent and the S&P 500 future climbing 0.7 percent.

CHINA FACTOR: China's economic growth held steady in the quarter ending in March, buoyed by investment and rapid growth in e-commerce despite trade tensions with Washington. The world's second-largest economy expanded by 6.8 percent over a year earlier, in line with the quarter ending in December and down slightly from 2017's full-year expansion of 6.9 percent, data showed Tuesday.

THE QUOTE: "In practice, growth is almost certainly slower than officials claim and looks to have edged down slightly last quarter. But the big picture is that economic momentum did hold up fairly well in Q1, with the easing of pollution controls sparking a recovery in industrial activity," Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics said in a commentary.

EARNINGS: Johnson & Johnson reported better than expected profit and revenue for the first quarter. Meanwhile, UnitedHealth boosted its earnings forecast for 2018 after a surprisingly strong start to the year. The company, which is the U.S.'s largest health insurer, added more than 2 million customers and improved its growing operations outside of insurance.

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ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 edged 0.1 percent higher to 21,847.59. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was unchanged at 5,841.50. South Korea's Kospi lost 0.2 percent to 2,453.77. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.9 percent to 30,059.32, while the Shanghai Composite dropped 1.4 percent to 3,066.80. Shares fell in Taiwan and Indonesia, but rose in Singapore.

GEOPOLITICS: Investors appear to have begun putting aside concerns over Friday night's missile attack by the U.S., Britain and France on Syria's chemical weapons program. On Monday, the White House said it was considering imposing additional sanctions on Russia, a key ally of Syrian leader Bashar Assad.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 5 cents to $66.27 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It declined $1.17 to settle at $66.22 per barrel on Monday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 1 cent to $71.43 per barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 107.04 yen from 107.12 yen late Monday. The euro edged down to $1.2378 from $1.2380.

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Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

Her work can be found at https://www.apnews.com/search/yuri%20kageyama

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