Bloomberg News

Most Asia Stocks Rise, Rebounding From Year-Low, as Oil Advances

September 13, 2011

Sept. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Most Asian stocks rose, with the benchmark regional index trading near a one-year low, as raw material and energy producers advanced on increased oil and copper prices.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index pared gains as banks fell after the Wall Street Journal, citing unidentified sources, reported French lender BNP Paribas SA can no longer borrow in dollars. BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s No. 1 mining company, advanced 2.3 percent in Sydney, leading raw material producers higher. Inpex Corp., an energy explorer, advanced 1.6 percent in Tokyo. Fanuc Corp., a maker of industrial robots, advanced 2.3 percent after plunging 15 percent last week. Nintendo Co., the world’s largest maker of game players, slumped 5.1 percent on speculation it may sell fewer 3-D handheld players than it is targeting.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.05 point, or less than 1 percent, to 118.05 at 6:52 p.m. in Tokyo after rising as much as 0.6 percent and falling 0.1 percent. About four stocks gained for every three that fell on the gauge, which dropped 3.3 percent in the previous two days, sending the measure to its lowest level since Aug. 2010 yesterday.

“Stocks are rebounding because they fell so sharply recently, but there’s nothing fundamentally good out there,” said Koichi Kurose, chief strategist in Tokyo at Resona Bank Ltd. “The global economy is still a concern. Even though stocks fell a lot recently, they may fall further if Greece goes into a default and the financial system loses out.”

The Asia-Pacific measure slumped 8.6 percent last month, the most since May 2010, amid concern global economic growth is slowing as Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis spreads and after Standard & Poor’s cut the U.S. credit rating.

Australian Business Confidence

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 1 percent. Taiwan’s Taiex Index slumped 2.9 percent after being closed for a holiday in the past two days. China’s Shanghai Composite Index, which was also closed for trading yesterday, lost 1.1 percent today.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.9 percent, even after a National Australia Bank Ltd. survey of more than 500 companies from Aug. 24-30 that was released in Sydney today showed that business confidence in the nation plunged last month to its lowest level since April 2009.

Markets in South Korea and Hong Kong are closed today for a holiday.

India’s Sensex index and Singapore’s Straits Times Index both reversed gains in late afternoon trading after the Wall Street Journal report on BNP Paribas.

Italy Speculation

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slid 1.1 percent today. In New York, the index rebounded 0.7 percent yesterday, reversing losses in the last 90 minutes of trading, after the Financial Times reported that Italy aims to sell “significant” quantities of bonds and stakes in strategic companies to China.

An Italian government official, who declined to be identified, told Bloomberg News that Italian officials have held talks with Chinese counterparts about potential investment in the euro region’s third-largest economy. The purchase of Italian bonds by China was not the focus of the talks, which took place in the past few weeks, the official said.

“Realistically most investors would consider that funding from China, while helpful, will have a limited impact on the core risks, and consequently the very small lift in markets today is most likely a very brief respite from a downwards trend,” said Angus Gluskie, who manages more than $300 million at White Funds Management in Sydney. “Investors remain concerned about the solvency of euro governments and financial institutions, and the ability of political parties in Europe and the U.S. to agree upon sensible strategies to both encourage employment and reduce indebtedness.”

BHP, Inpex

Raw material producers and energy shares were among the biggest boosts to the MSCI Asia Pacific Index today.

BHP increased 2.3 percent to A$37.29, the largest support to the MSCI Asia Pacific Index. Origin Energy Ltd., an oil and gas explorer, rose 3.9 percent to A$13. Inpex advanced 1.6 percent to 490,500 yen.

Crude oil for October delivery rose as much as 1.2 percent on the New York Mercantile Exchange today, its second day of gains, after stockpiles of crude in the U.S. shrank last week. Copper in London gained as much as 1.4 percent, rising for the first time in three days.

Stocks gained today after the MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell to a one-year low yesterday. Stocks on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index are trading at about 12 percent below the measure’s 200- day moving average.

Fanuc, Komatsu Rebound

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 14 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 7.6 percent drop by the S&P 500 and a 21 percent loss by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 11.7 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 11.6 for the S&P 500 and 9.1 times for the Stoxx 600.

Fanuc, which plunged 15 percent last week and 3.4 percent yesterday, advanced 2.3 percent today and was the biggest support to the Nikkei 225. Komatsu Ltd., which makes construction machinery, also rallied 2.7 percent to 1,799 yen today, rebounding from a 14 percent decline last week.

Among other stocks that rose, Elpida Memory Inc. surged 13 percent to 557 yen after the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index, which tracks the performance of 30 industry stocks, yesterday rallied 3 percent to the highest since Aug. 15. Elpida posted the biggest gain on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index.

Dainippon Screen Manufacturing Co., a maker of chip- manufacturing equipment, jumped 4.8 percent to 462 yen. Advantest Corp., a maker of memory-chip testers, rose 4.8 percent to 896 yen.

??????????? Banks Reverse Gains

Banks declined in afternoon trading after the Wall Street Journal cited an unidentified bank official as saying BNP Paribas can’t borrow dollars because U.S. money-market funds are no longer lending to it.

India’s ICICI Bank Ltd. dropped 1 percent to 853.95 rupees and Singapore’s DBS Group Holdings Ltd. slipped 1.2 percent to S$12.20.

Among other stocks that fell, Nintendo sank 5.1 percent to 12,320 yen after analysts said the company will probably sell fewer 3-D handheld players than it’s targeting as price cuts and new accessories fail to make up for a lack of hit titles. The stock fell even after the company’s president, Satoru Iwata, said today it will add new functions to the 3DS in November.

--With assistance from Shani Raja in Sydney. Editor: Nick Gentle

To contact the reporter on this story: Anna Kitanaka in Tokyo at akitanaka@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Gentle at ngentle2@bloomberg.net


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