Asian stocks rose, paring the benchmark equity gauge’s biggest weekly decline in two months, after reports from Europe to the U.S. boosted confidence in the economic recovery and the yen weakened against the dollar.
Asia’s largest carmaker Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), which gets about 75 percent of its sales outside Japan, climbed 2.8 percent as the yen touched the lowest level in nearly three weeks against the dollar. Henderson Land Development Co. advanced 2.6 percent in Hong Kong after the homebuilder controlled by billionaire Lee Shau-kee posted higher sales. Amada Co., a Japanese maker of metal-cutting machines, jumped 5.3 percent after a report operating profits will surge 150 percent.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 1.1 percent to 131.09 as of 6:28 p.m. in Hong Kong as nine of the 10 industry groups on the gauge climbed. About five shares rose for every two that fell. The measure dropped 2.4 percent this week amid concern emerging-market economies are slowing and that the Federal Reserve will reduce its unprecedented stimulus program, known as quantitative easing.
“The fact that the U.S. and European recoveries are improving, albeit fractionally, is a good foundation for global markets,” Matthew Sherwood, head of investment markets research in Sydney at Perpetual Investments, which manages about $25 billion, said in an e-mail. “Markets are clearly in a transitional phase. Investors firstly have to get through the removal of the price distortions that quantitative easing created.”
Factory output in the euro area is improving more than economists estimated and the fewest U.S. workers in more than five years applied for jobless benefits, reports yesterday showed.
Japan’s Topix index surged 2 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index jumped 0.9 percent and South Korea’s Kospi index advanced 1.1 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index was little changed and Taiwan’s Taiex index increased 0.8 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slipped 0.2 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index lost 0.1 percent.
The Shanghai Composite Index sank 0.5 percent as China’s benchmark money-market rate headed for its biggest weekly gain in a month on concern cash supply will tighten as banks cover month-end obligations.
The Asia-Pacific gauge has erased almost all this year’s gains, lagging a 16 percent surge in the S&P 500 Index as growth slows in China and speculation that the Fed will curb stimulus spurred investors to sell assets across Asia and emerging markets.
The MSCI Asia Pacific index traded at 12.6 times estimated earnings yesterday compared with 15 for the S&P 500 Index and 13.9 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Indonesia’s Jakarta Stock Index (JCI) led declines among Asian developing markets this week, losing 8.7 percent after worse-than-estimated economic data and a report showing the nation’s current-account deficit widened to a record in the second quarter. The gauge was little changed today.
U.S. jobless claims in the month ended Aug. 17 declined to 330,500 a week on average, the least since November 2007, Labor Department figures showed yesterday.
In the euro area, a manufacturing gauge indicated expansion for a second month in August, rising to 51.3 from 50.3., London-based Markit Economics said yesterday.
Japanese stocks have led gains among developed markets this year amid optimism that record stimulus by the Bank of Japan and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic reforms will boost growth. The Topix index has dropped 11 percent from its May 22 close, which was the highest since 2008.
Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda is among speakers tomorrow at the Fed’s annual monetary conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which comes as the U.S. central bank debates the timing of reductions to its record bond buying and other global regulators pump up accommodation. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke won’t attend.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) were little changed. The measure gained 0.9 percent yesterday as data showed improvement in global manufacturing and the American labor market. The Nasdaq Composite Index increased 1.1 percent following a three-hour trading halt on the Nasdaq Stock Market after a computer error.
Japanese exporters advanced as the yen fell as low as 99.14 to the dollar. Toyota Motor added 2.8 percent to 6,220 yen. Nissan Motor Co. gained 3.4 percent to 1,028 yen.
Amada gained 5.3 percent to 769 yen in Tokyo. The Nikkei newspaper reported the machinery maker will post operating profit of 4.5 billion yen in the six months through September, more than the 3.5 billion the company has forecast.
Henderson Land advanced 2.6 percent to HK$47.40. Revenue from home sales in Hong Kong and mainland China rose 16 percent to HK$4.97 billion ($641 million) in the first half, while rental income from offices and malls gained 12 percent to HK$2.46 billion.
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