Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Asian stocks rose, with a regional benchmark index poised for its biggest monthly rally since September 2010, after Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos said major progress has been made in debt-swap talks and Japan’s industrial production grew faster than economists estimated.
Fanuc Corp., Japan’s top maker of factory robots, climbed 1.5 percent. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., Japan’s second-largest lender by market value, rose 2.1 after saying it will meet its full-year profit forecast. Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., a South Korean shipbuilder, jumped 4.8 percent after winning a $556 million contract to supply tankers to Kuwait Oil Tanker Co.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.4 percent to 122.63 as of 11:10 a.m. in Tokyo, having swung between gains and losses at least eight times. The measure has risen 7.7 percent so far this month, set for the biggest such advance since September 2010, amid bets China will ease lending curb, the U.S. economy is improving and Europe is containing its debts crisis.
“We’ve seen some positive signs in Europe,” said Angus Gluskie, who oversees about $300 million as managing director at White Funds Management in Sydney. “We’re on a cusp of a Greek bond restructuring. They will agree on it but there will be some debate in the meantime.”
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 0.3 percent, while South Korea’s Kospi Index gained 0.8 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.2 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index increased 0.8 percent. China’s Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.2 percent.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.2 percent today. The gauge slid 0.3 percent in New York yesterday as a report showed U.S. consumer spending stalled in December.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 7.2 percent this year through yesterday, compared with increases of 4.4 percent by the S&P 500 and 3.3 percent by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 1.3 times book value. That compares with 2.1 times for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index in the U.S. and 1.4 times for the Europe Stoxx 600 Index in Europe.
A gauge of industrial stocks led the advance among the 10 industry groups in the MSCI Asian gauge. Japanese machinery makers rallied as the nation’s factory production rose 4 percent in December from the previous month, the biggest increase in seven months.
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