Bloomberg News

Asian Stocks Advance for Third Day on Global Economic Optimism

February 02, 2012

Feb. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Asian stocks advanced for a third day, with the regional benchmark index heading for its highest close in three months, as manufacturing gained in the U.S. and Europe, boosting confidence the global economy is recovering.

LG Electronics Inc., the world’s No. 3 maker of mobile phones, jumped 6.5 percent in Seoul. James Hardie Industries SE, a building materials supplier that counts the U.S. as its top market, jumped 4.8 percent in Sydney as construction spending in America rose in December at the fastest pace in four months. The Tokyo Stock Exchange said trading of 241 stocks including Sony Corp. and Hitachi Ltd. was halted due to a technical glitch.

“We got more confirmation that business confidence in the U.S. and Europe is improving,” said Mitsushige Akino, who oversees about $600 million at Ichiyoshi Investment Management Co. in Tokyo. “The European debt crisis is in a temporary lull, so stocks sensitive to the economy will have a chance to gain.”

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 1.2 percent to 124.62 as of 10:30 a.m. in Tokyo, poised for its highest close since Oct. 28. More than four shares rose for each that fell. In January, the measure posted its biggest monthly advance since September 2010 amid bets China will ease lending curbs, the U.S. economy is improving and Europe is containing its debt crisis.

Tokyo Stock Glitch

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 0.9 percent, while the broader Topix Index advanced 1 percent even as TSE investigates the cause of the glitch that led to the suspension of trading of 241 companies. Trading in all shares on the Sapporo Stock Exchange was also halted.

South Korea’s Kospi Index climbed 1.4 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index increased 1 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index advanced 1.5 percent.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.3 percent today. The measure advanced gained 0.9 percent in New York yesterday after reports showed manufacturing in the U.S. grew in January at the fastest pace in seven months.

Exporters advanced as manufacturing growth in Europe and Asia added to signs the global economy is recovering. Reports yesterday showed a gauge of U.K. manufacturing jumped to an eight-month high and German output grew for the first time since September. Data from China and India also showed rising factory activity.

‘One Step’ Closer

Raw Material producers led the gains among the 10 industry groups in the MSCI Asia Pacific Index as metal futures advanced. The London Metals Exchange Index, which tracks prices of industrial metals including aluminum and copper, rose 1.2 percent yesterday, snapping a three-day decline.

Stocks also rose as discussions between Greece and its creditors continued to progress. The Greek government is “one step from closing” a debt-swap deal with private bondholders, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos told reporters in Athens yesterday.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 8.1 percent this year through yesterday, compared with increases of 5.3 percent by the S&P 500 and 6.1 percent by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 1.3 times book value. That compares with 2.2 times for the S&P 500 in the U.S. and 1.5 times for the Europe Stoxx 600.

--With assistance from Norie Kuboyama in Tokyo.

Editors: Jim Powell, Nick Gentle

To contact the reporters on this story: Jonathan Burgos in Singapore at jburgos4@bloomberg.net; Masaaki Iwamoto in Tokyo at miwamoto4@bloomberg.net

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


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