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International markets roundup

NEW YORK - A Netflix rally has boosted the Nasdaq to a record high while Goldman Sachs Group dragged the Dow lower as earnings take centre stage on Wall Street.

The Nasdaq posted its eighth consecutive session of gains on Tuesday, the longest streak since its 10-day string in February 2015.

The tech-heavy index was largely boosted by Netflix.

The movie streaming company rose 13.5 per cent to $US183.60 a day after it crushed Wall Street forecasts by reporting 5.2 million new streaming customers in the second quarter.

As the second-quarter earnings season gears up, investors will put most of their focus on the performance of individual companies, analysts said.

"Earnings and guidance will move the market more than news out of DC. Goldman is more important to the market today, as is Netflix, and that will be the case for the next couple of weeks," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York.

The Dow was dragged lower by a drop in Goldman Sachs, which fell 2.6 per cent to $US223.31 after reporting a 40 per cent fall in bond trading revenue and posted the weakest commodities results in its history as a public company.

Other widely held stocks were active after posting results.

Johnson & Johnson gained 1.7 per cent to $US134.46 after saying expected sales growth to pick up in the second half of the year.

Harley-Davidson Inc fell 5.9 per cent to $US48.95 after the motorcycle maker cut its forecast for 2017 shipments.

Analysts estimate an 8.5 per cent rise in second-quarter earnings and a 4.7 per cent increase in revenue for S&P 500 companies from a year earlier.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 54.99 points, or 0.25 per cent, to 21,574.73, the S&P 500 gained 1.47 points, or 0.06 per cent, to 2,460.61 and the Nasdaq Composite added 29.87 points, or 0.47 per cent, to 6,344.31.

Both the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 set record closing highs.

US Senate Republicans failed to muster enough votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, but reaction was muted in the stock market.

Analysts said the expectation for business-friendly legislation out of Washington is all but priced out of equities.

"Investors are looking for an investment that doesn't need the economy to do a lot better, and (where) it doesn't need Washington," said Matthew Peterson, chief wealth strategist for LPL Financial.

LONDON - British shares edged down after falls in financial stocks outweighed the effect of easing inflation and positive earnings updates from Royal Mail and British Land.

The FTSE 100 ended down 0.2 per cent but outperformed heavy losses among European stocks thanks to a weaker pound, which benefits major exporting companies.

Sterling dropped as investors adjusted interest rate expectations after inflation unexpectedly eased in June for the first time since October, surprising the market and adding to the likelihood the Bank of England will keep interest rates on hold in August.

TOKYO - Asian shares stepped back from more than two-year highs while the dollar extended losses as passage of a US healthcare bill grew doubtful, and as investors bet the Federal Reserve will be more cautious about raising interest rates.

Japan's Nikkei stock index dropped 0.6 per cent to end the day a hair below the key 20,000 level, as markets resumed trading after a public holiday on Monday and caught up to the resurgent yen.

Hong Kong stocks rose for a seventh straight session as gains in the technology and energy sectors offset losses in financial stocks. The Hang Seng index finished 0.2 per cent, or 54.36 points higher at 26,524.94.

Meanwhile, China stocks steadied, aided by strong gains in cyclicals, even as investors hunted for bargains after an intense sell-off in small-caps in the previous session.

The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.1 per cent, to 3,667.18 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.3 per cent to 3,187.57 points.

WELLINGTON - New Zealand shares hit a record high as weaker CPI numbers bolstered shares, with dividend stocks such as Mercury New Zealand and Trustpower benefiting.

The S&P/NZX50 Index gained 7.76 points, or 1 per cent, to 7707.33. Within the index, 28 stocks rose, 15 fell and seven were unchanged.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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