Bloomberg News

Asian Stocks Rise for Third Day as Greece Votes for Austerity

June 30, 2011

June 30 (Bloomberg) -- Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index headed for its highest close in a month, as concern about a banking crisis eased after Greece passed austerity measures and German financial institutions pushed toward an agreement to roll over Greek debt holdings.

HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe’s biggest bank by market value, gained 1.5 percent in Hong Kong on speculation Greece will secure financial aid and avoid a default that might destabilize the region’s banking system. Sony Corp., which gets 21 percent of its sales in Europe, climbed 3 percent in Tokyo. BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company and Australia’s No. 1 oil producer, increased 1.5 percent after crude and metals futures climbed.

“There will still be a lot of twists and turns, but Greece has been able to avoid a worst-case scenario,” said Mitsushige Akino, who oversees about $600 million in Tokyo at Ichiyoshi Investment Management Co. “That makes it easier for investors to take on risk.”

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 1.4 percent to 135.18, as of 7:55 p.m. in Tokyo, set for its highest close since June 1 and paring a quarterly decline to 0.4 percent. Almost four stocks rose for each that dropped. Through yesterday the gauge tumbled 5.4 percent from this year’s high on May 2, amid concern a slowing U.S. economy, Europe’s sovereign debt crisis and China’s steps to curb inflation will crimp earnings.

Kospi, Nikkei

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index increased 1.7 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index advanced 1.5 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.2 percent. South Korea’s Kospi Index added 0.3 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 0.2 percent, after swinging between gains and losses at least six times.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.1 percent today. The index rose 0.8 percent yesterday as Greece’s parliament passed budget cuts and tax increases that satisfy European conditions for more bailout money. U.S. Banks including Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. advanced after the Federal Reserve raised a ceiling on debit-card transaction fees.

Financial shares rallied after Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou yesterday secured a vote in favor of an austerity plan that clears the way for the next payment due from last year’s bailout. He faces a final vote today to stave off default for his debt-laden nation. German financial companies will present a draft proposal to roll over Greek debt holdings to Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble at a meeting today, according to people familiar with the plan.

Solvency Issue

“The passage of the Greek vote on austerity does clear off doubts regarding the liquidity situation for the time being,” said Binay Chandgothia, Hong Kong-based portfolio manager at Principal Global Investors, which has assets of more than $200 billion. “The key issue of solvency remains and is likely to come back.”

HSBC gained 1.5 percent to HK$77.05 in Hong Kong. Standard Chartered Plc., the U.K.’s third-largest bank by market value, climbed 1.3 percent to HK$200.80. Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the nation’s biggest lender, increased 1.8 percent to A$52.30.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Japan’s largest publicly traded bank, rose 2.1 percent to 390 yen in Tokyo. Smaller Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. gained 1.3 percent to 2,468 yen. Japan’s major banks were raised to “overweight” from “market weight” by Deutsche Bank AG, which said first- quarter earnings may show “good progress” and concern is receding that lenders will need to raise capital.

Exporters Advance

Exporters to Europe extended gains. Sony Corp. advanced 3 percent to 2,117 yen in Tokyo. Mazda Motor Corp., a Japanese carmaker that gets 18 percent of sales from Europe, gained 1.9 percent to 211 yen. Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., an operator of ports, mobile-phone services and retail stores that gets most of its revenue from Europe, rose 1.9 percent to HK$84 in Hong Kong.

All 10 industry groups on the Asian benchmark index advanced, led by utilities, financial institutions, raw material producers and energy companies.

BHP added 1.5 percent to A$43.80 in Sydney. Jiangxi Copper Co., China’s biggest producer of the metal, climbed 4 percent to HK$25.85 in Hong Kong. Cnooc Ltd., the nation’s largest offshore oil explorer, increased 1.8 percent to HK$18.16.

Crude oil for August delivery gained 2 percent to settle at $94.77 a barrel in New York yesterday, after the U.S. government said?supplies dropped almost three times as much as expected. The London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six metals including copper and aluminum advanced 2.1 percent, the most since June 14.

Nuclear Restart

Japanese utilities advanced after Kyodo News reported yesterday that the town of Genkai in southwestern Japan will let Kyushu Electric Power Co. restart reactors, easing concern local opposition to nuclear power will damage the industry. Kyushu Electric gained 4.2 percent to 1,447 yen in Tokyo. Kansai Electric Power Co., a utility that generates 43 percent of its power from nuclear plants, climbed 4.6 percent to 1,600 yen.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 3.2 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a gain of 4 percent by the S&P 500, a 2.6 percent increase for the MSCI All-Country World Index and a drop of 2.2 percent by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 13.7 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.2 times for the S&P 500, 12.4 times for the global gauge and 11 times for the Stoxx 600.

BYD Co., the Chinese automaker partly-owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., jumped 41 percent to 25.45 yuan on its first day of trading in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen. Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd., the country’s largest planemaker, surged 43 percent to 22,150 won in its trading debut in Seoul.

--With assistance from Akiko Ikeda and Anna Kitanaka in Tokyo. Editor: Nick Gentle, Jason Clenfield.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jonathan Burgos in Singapore at Satoshi Kawano in Tokyo at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Gentle at

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