Asian shares trade higher following US lead

<p>Asian stocks were mostly higher after Wall Street gains yesterday.</p>

Asian shares were mostly up today (August 14th) as investors shrugged off yesterday's report from the US Commerce Department showing that retail sales data for July were the sector's worse performance since January this year. 

Core sales (automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services) only edged up 0.1 per cent in July, while this figure was 0.5 per cent in June.

US traders reacted calmly to the report, leading to solid gains on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wednesday finished up 0.55 per cent at 16,651.80 yesterday.

Tokyo and Sydney followed the lead today and both rose 0.60 per cent, while Hong Kong and Shanghai remained flat. Investors weighed corporate earnings and focused on a possible interest-rate increase from the Federal Reserve.

Seoul added 0.19 per cent after South Korea's central bank cut interest rates for the first time in 15 months.

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