Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark gauge climbing for the first time in five days, as telecommunications and health-care shares advanced.
SoftBank Corp. added 2.3 percent in Tokyo, leading phone companies to the largest gain among 10 industry groups on the regional index. Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co. surged 5.4 percent after Barclays Plc upgraded the shares. Hyundai Hysco Co. slumped 1.4 percent as the U.S. government imposed duties on steel pipe from South Korea and eight other nations.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.4 percent to 146.62 as of 8:10 p.m. in Hong Kong. The gauge lost 1.1 percent last week, its first retreat in nine weeks, after equity valuations touched the highest level this year and the yen strengthened against the dollar. More than 150 U.S. companies are scheduled to report quarterly results in the next two weeks, including JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Johnson & Johnson.
“The second-quarter earnings season in the U.S. is likely to be the next major driver of global markets,” said Evan Lucas, a Melbourne-based market strategist at IG Ltd. “With all the major U.S. banks reporting this week, the market will get the best view of the self-sustaining U.S. economy that the Federal Reserve now sees.”
Japan’s Topix index rose 0.8 percent. SoftBank, Japan’s largest carrier by market capitalization, gained 2.3 percent to 7,649 yen. Sumitomo Dainippon added 5.4 percent to 1,208 yen. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.5 percent.
New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index climbed 0.5 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index (HSI) rose 0.5 percent and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland equities listed in the city gained 0.8 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index increased 1 percent.
Singapore’s Straits Times Index slid 0.1 percent as a report showed the city-state’s economy unexpectedly contracted in the second quarter after manufacturing slumped, hurt by a tighter labor supply. Taiwan’s Taiex index and South Korea’s Kospi index both advanced 0.3 percent. India’s S&P BSE Sensex Index slipped less than 0.1 percent.
Profit at Standard & Poor’s 500 Index companies probably rose 4.5 percent in the three months through June, while sales gained 3.1 percent, estimates compiled by Bloomberg show. Forecasts have been cut since the start of April, when analysts predicted a 7.3 percent jump in earnings and 3.7 percent gain in sales.
More than $1 trillion has been wiped from the value of global stocks since a peak reached July 3, as analysts brought forward estimates for Fed rate increases and a parent of Portugal’s Banco Espirito Santo SA missed a bond payment, reigniting concerns over Europe’s financial stability as it emerges from its sovereign-debt crisis.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) traded at 13.3 times estimated earnings at the last close compared with 16.6 for the S&P 500, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Futures on the U.S. equity gauge rose 0.4 percent today after the underlying index added 0.2 percent July 11.
Hyundai Hysco sank 1.4 percent to 76,400 won in Seoul and SeAH Steel Corp. declined 15 percent to 102,000 won. The U.S. Commerce Department set duties from 9.89 percent to 15.75 percent on South Korean pipe, which is used in oil drilling.
Chinese phone-services providers climbed on speculation a cellular tower joint venture between the nation’s largest mobile carriers will boost earnings. China Mobile Ltd. (941), the world’s largest mobile-phone carrier by subscribers, climbed 2.6 percent to HK$78.55 and China Telecom Corp. advanced 3.9 percent to HK$4.05 in Hong Kong. China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd. rose 4.7 percent to HK$12.86.
The carriers formed China Communications Facilities Services Corp., which will have registered capital of 10 billion yuan ($1.61 billion), the companies said last week. Combined annual savings on capital expenditure will be between about 30 billion yuan and 40 billion yuan, Standard Chartered Plc said.
BYD Co., an electric-car maker, gained 3.8 percent to HK$49 in Hong Kong after China issued a mandate on new government vehicles using clean energy.
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