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Stocks gain...China pushback...Defending diesel

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TOKYO (AP) — Shares were mostly higher in Europe and Asia today as investors awaited a fresh flurry of corporate earnings reports. Chinese markets shrugged off weaker manufacturing data, while Japan's Nikkei index sagged as the yen surged against the dollar. Futures point to an upbeat start on Wall Street. Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell to just above $49.50 per barrel. The dollar fell against the yen and gained against the euro.

BEIJING (AP) — There's pushback from China today on statements from President Donald Trump. A senior Chinese trade official says the issue of China-U.S. trade should be kept separate from the issue of North Korean security threats. Vice Commerce Minister Qian Keming's remarks came after Trump over the weekend complained that China had benefited massively from trade with the U.S. while providing no help resolving problems with North Korea.

BERLIN (AP) — The German member of the European Union's executive body says it would be wrong to set a Europe-wide date to end the sale of cars with diesel and gasoline engines. He says it would be very premature. Britain last week announced plans to ban the sale of new vehicles using such engines starting in 2040, following similar moves in France and Norway. But automaking powerhouse Germany is reluctant to follow suit.

HONG KONG (AP) — HSBC says it plans to buy back another $2 billion in shares after reporting a strong set of quarterly profits thanks to higher interest rates that helped fatten margins for its lending business. The London-based global bank, which earns most of its income in Asia, said it will carry out its latest share repurchase in the second half of the year, bringing the total amount since last year to $5.5 billion. The bank said second-quarter net profit jumped by more than half to $3.87 billion as revenues grew faster than expenses.

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's factory output rose in June, while unemployment fell to 2.8 percent, as a recovery in global demand helped drive growth in the world's third-largest economy. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry reports that factory production in June rose 4.9 percent over a year earlier and 1.6 percent from the month before. Consumer demand in the world's No. 3 economy picked up in June with the payment of half-yearly bonuses.

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