Bloomberg News

Asian Stocks Advanced for Sixth Week as Fed Pledges Low Rates

January 29, 2012

Jan. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Asian stocks rose for a sixth week, with the regional benchmark posting its longest winning streak since 2010, as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke pledged to keep interest rates near zero until 2014 and India eased curbs on lending.

Li & Fung Ltd., a supplier of toys and clothes to Wal-Mart Stores Inc., advanced 7 percent in Hong Kong. Samsung Electronics Co. rose to a record in Seoul after Asia’s largest maker of consumer electrics said it sold more smartphones last year than Apple Inc. State Bank of India Ltd., the nation’s biggest lender, gained 5.6 percent in Mumbai after the central bank unexpectedly cut reserve-requirements for lenders.

“Bernanke is presenting the world with a gift,” said Khiem Do, Hong Kong-based head of multiasset strategy at Baring Asset Management Ltd., which oversees $46 billion. “He wants to underwrite the recovery and underwriting the recovery is very good for equity markets and risk assets.”

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 1.9 percent to 123.03, extending gains for a sixth week, the longest streak since a seven week stretch that ended Oct. 15, 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Stocks have rallied amid signs the U.S. economy is improving. Shares have also risen as the European Central Bank expanded bank loans and investors speculate the People’s Bank of China and the Fed will do more to support growth.

Nikkei 225, Kospi

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 0.9 percent, while South Korea’s Kospi Index added 0.8 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 1.2 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index advanced 2 percent. Markets in China, Taiwan and Vietnam were closed all week for the Lunar New Year holiday.

Exporters advanced after Bernanke said policy makers are prepared to provide further “monetary accommodation” if unemployment stays higher than the Federal Reserve would like while inflation falls below a newly-established target.

Li & Fung, which counts the U.S. as its biggest market, climbed 7 percent to HK$18.40 in Hong Kong. Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s largest carmaker by market value, gained 4 percent to 2,838 yen. Sony Corp., Japan’s No.1 exporter of consumer electronics, increased 3.4 percent to 1,414 yen.

Casino operators rallied on expectation gambling revenue in Macau this month may surpass a record of 26.9 billion patacas ($3.4 billion) set in October. The number of people visiting Macau should increase during China’s weeklong holiday, Union Gaming analyst Grant Govertsen wrote in a note on Jan. 25.

Galaxy, Wynn Macau

Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd., founded by billionaire Lui Che-Woo, climbed 5.7 percent to HK$17.76. Sands China Ltd., Asia’s biggest gambling company by market value, jumped 7.9 percent to HK$27.30. Wynn Macau Ltd., the second-largest casino operator listed in Hong Kong, rose 9 percent to HK$21.15.

Samsung Electronics gained 1.8 percent to 1.125 million won in Seoul, the highest price on record. The company yesterday said fourth-quarter profit rose 17 percent from a year earlier to 4 trillion won ($3.6 billion). The Suwon, South Korea-based company shipped a record 300 million handsets last year and its smartphone sales eclipsed those of Apple.

Shares of Apple suppliers in Asia got a boost this week after the iPhone maker posted record sales and profit in the quarter through December. Taiwanese suppliers including Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. and Catcher Technology Co. may rise next week when the country’s market resumes trading after the New Year holiday.

Apple Suppliers

AAC Technologies Holdings Inc., a Hong Kong-based maker of speakers and microphones, climbed 5.4 percent to HK$20.55 this week. Foxconn International Holdings Ltd., whose Taipei-based parent Hon Hai manufactures the iPhone and iPad, added 2 percent to HK$5.17.

India’s BSE Sensitive Index, known as the Sensex, jumped 2.96 percent after the nation’s central bank unexpectedly lowered the amount of deposits lenders need to set aside as reserves for the first time since 2009 and signaled it may also cut interest rates further.

Indian lenders advanced. State Bank of India rose 5.6 percent to 2,040.6 rupees in Mumbai. ICICI Bank Ltd. gained 5.4 percent to 887.95 rupees.

Suzlon Energy Ltd., an Indian supplier of wind turbines, surged 16.3 percent to 28.6 rupees this week, after a unit won a contract to develop a wind farm in California, with a capacity to generate 50 megawatts of electricity.

Suppliers of solar equipment advanced after Germany decided to keep subsidies and on expectations China will increase investments in solar energy technology.

OCI Co., a South Korean supplier of polysilicon used in solar panels, climbed 5 percent to 263,500 won. GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd., a Chinese producer of the material, gained 1.6 percent to HK$2.56 in Hong Kong. Trony Solar Holdings Co., a panel supplier, rose 5.1 percent to HK$1.23.

--Editors: Jason Clenfield, Paul Tighe

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Burgos in Singapore at jburgos4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John McCluskey at j.mccluskey@bloomberg.net


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