Bloomberg News

Asia Stocks Pare Monthly Loss on Valuations, Euro Crisis Meeting

November 29, 2011

Nov. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Asian stocks rose for a second day, paring a monthly decline, as valuations rebound from near a two- year low ahead of a meeting by euro-area finance ministers seeking a resolution to sovereign-debt crisis.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 1 percent to 112.21 as of 1:30 p.m. in Tokyo. All but two of 10 industries on the measure rose, with more than two stocks advancing for each that fell. The Asian gauge is headed for a 7.9 percent decline for the month and last week traded at 1.14 times estimated book value, near a two-year low of 1.11 times book value struck on Oct. 5.

“We are buying Asian equities,” David Gaud, a Hong Kong- based senior portfolio manager at Edmond de Rothschild Asset Management, said on Bloomberg Television. “When I look at the valuation of the market, a lot has been priced in already. Europe has the financial means to respond to this crisis. We may see further volatility in the markets.”

Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea’s largest maker of automobiles, rose 4.1 percent in Seoul. Daido Steel Co., a Japanese maker of steel products, jumped 7.2 percent in Tokyo after signing a joint venture with U.S.-based Molycorp Inc., a producer of rare-earth products. PICC Property and Casualty Co., China’s biggest non-life insurer, sank 3.9 percent in Hong Kong after saying it plans to raise money from a rights offering in Hong Kong and China.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 1.2 percent even as the nation’s jobless rate rose for the first time in three months. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index increased 0.5 percent, after falling as much as 0.4 percent. South Korea’s Kospi Index advanced 1.9 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index advanced 0.5 percent.

Europe Meeting

Leaders are working toward a Dec. 9 summit meeting to regain investor confidence. Finance ministers from the 17-member monetary union meet in Brussels today to thrash out details on how the European Financial Stability Facility will boost its muscle by insuring sovereign debt with guarantees.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 19 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 5.2 percent drop by the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and a 17 percent slump by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 12.3 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 12 times for the S&P 500 and 10 times for the Stoxx 600.

In Europe, German newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are discussing an agreement under which member states will commit to tighter budget discipline without waiting for treaty changes. The newspaper did not say where it got the information.

‘Joy and Sorrow’

“Investors are likely to buy shares even on small news because stocks have been sold too much globally on lingering debt issues in European countries,” said Seiichiro Iwamoto, who helps oversee about $35 billion in Tokyo at Mizuho Asset Management Co. “People in the market are swinging between joy and sorrow on even the smallest news from the region.”

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed after swinging between gains and losses today. The U.S. equity benchmark yesterday climbed 2.9 percent, the most since Oct. 27.

Separately, Fitch Ratings lowered its outlook on the U.S. to negative following a congressional committee’s failure to agree on deficit cuts.

--With assistance from Norie Kuboyama in Tokyo and Susan Li in Hong Kong. Editor: Nick Gentle

To contact the reporter on this story: Kana Nishizawa in Hong Kong at knishizawa5@bloomberg.net

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


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