Asian stocks rose, lifting the MSCI Asia Pacific Index to a five-month high, as manufacturing in China accelerated and a Bank of Japan survey spurred speculation the central bank will take steps to bolster economic growth.
Jiangxi Copper Co. climbed 3.8 percent in Hong Kong after a Chinese purchasing managers index increased in September. Elpida Memory Inc. climbed 8.1 percent after saying it plans to start mass production of a new memory chip. Shinsei Bank Ltd. jumped 6.9 percent in Tokyo after boosting its profit forecast. Lee & Man Paper Manufacturing Ltd. surged 11 percent in Hong Kong after the Standard newspaper said the company will boost production capacity.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.7 percent to 127.52 as of 7:41 p.m. in Tokyo, the highest level since April 16. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 0.7 percent in Japan, where the central bank reported its Tankan index of sentiment at the nation’s largest manufacturers climbed by 7 points in September, the least since early 2009. Japanese bonds rose for a sixth day.
“There is rising speculation of monetary easing in the market after the Tankan survey sparked uncertainty about the future of Japan’s economy,” said Yoshinori Nagano, a senior strategist in Tokyo at Daiwa Asset Management Co., which oversees about $111 billion. “A rise in PMI reassured investors about the strength of the Chinese economy.”
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 1.2 percent. China’s Shanghai Composite closed little changed after advancing 0.9 percent. South Korea’s Kospi Index rose 0.6 percent, as did Taiwan’s Taiex index.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.2 percent. The index rose 0.5 percent yesterday as Walgreen Co., the largest U.S. drugstore chain, led a rally in consumer-staples and health companies, and investors speculated the Federal Reserve will buy more debt to safeguard the economy.
A Chicago purchasing managers’ gauge of business activity due tomorrow is forecast to fall to 55.7 this month from 56.7 in August, according to the median estimate of economists in a Bloomberg News survey. Figures greater than 50 signal expansion.
A China purchasing managers’ index released today by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics rose to 52.9 this month from 51.9 in August, helping to boost Hong Kong and Chinese equities. A separate government-backed PMI is due released on Oct. 1.
“Domestic demand is pretty strong,” said Dai Ming, a fund manager at Shanghai Kingsun Investment Management & Consulting Co. “That has paved the way for a soft landing of the economy.”
Jiangxi Copper climbed 3.8 percent to HK$19.58 in Hong Kong. Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd., the nation’s biggest producer of the metal, surged 7.5 percent to 11.70 yuan in Shanghai. It was the stock’s second day of gains after its parent announced an investment plan for rare earths.
Raw-material producers accounted for 12 percent of the MSCI Asia Pacific Index’s advance after the London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six industrial metals rallied 0.6 percent yesterday. Copper futures in New York jumped 1.1 percent while gold futures gained 0.7 percent to a record.
Rio Tinto Group, the world’s third-largest mining company, advanced 0.3 percent to A$77.26 in Sydney. Mitsubishi Corp. Japan’s largest commodities trader, rose 1.8 percent to 2,018 yen. Newcrest Mining Ltd., Australia’s largest gold producer, climbed 1.6 percent to A$40.00.
A gauge of technology companies in the MSCI Asia Pacific Index increased 1.3 percent, the second-biggest gain among 10 industry groups.
Elpida climbed 8.1 percent to 985 yen. The company’s new dynamic random access memory chip will have a width in the low 30-nanometer range, said Hideki Saito, a company spokesman, confirming a report in the Nikkei newspaper.
Samsung Electronics Co., Asia’s biggest maker of semiconductors, gained 3.6 percent to 772,000 won, while Hynix Semiconductor Inc. jumped 2.3 percent to 21,850 won in Seoul.
Shinsei Bank rose 6.9 percent to 62 yen after boosting its net-income target for the year ending March 2012 to 51 billion yen ($608 million) from 32 billion yen.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index tumbled as much as 16 percent from this year’s high on April 15 to its 2010 low on May 25 amid concern Europe’s debt crisis and Chinese steps to curb property- price inflation will derail global growth. The index has since climbed 17 percent. The gauge’s companies trade at an average 14.3 times estimated profit, the highest level in seven weeks.
“Corporate earnings look good for now,” Daiwa Asset’s Nagano said. “Growth at the moment looks ok but there is uncertainty about the future.”
Lee & Man surged 11 percent to HK$6.35. The company plans to increase production capacity by more than 50 percent by June 2012, to 6.95 million metric tons annually, the Standard reported, citing Chief Executive Officer Raymond Lee.
Also in Hong Kong, developers climbed after the government sold a residential site in the city’s Fan Ling district for HK$459 million ($59 million), beating the HK$370 million median estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.
Henderson Land Development Co., controlled by billionaire Lee Shau-kee, rose 1.7 percent to HK$54.65. Hang Lung Properties Ltd., Hong Kong’s third-biggest homebuilder, advanced 3.5 percent to HK$36.90. Some developers pared gains after the government withdrew a site in the Chai Wan district from auction after receiving no bids at the starting price of HK$530 million.
Hong Kong Financial Secretary John Tsang has increased sales of government land in a bid to curb home values that have surged 46 percent in the past year. Prices have exceeded estimates in both auctions held since the government stepped up measures to cool the property market Aug. 13.
A measure of utility companies in the MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 1.4 percent, the only decline among the broader gauge’s industry groups.
Tokyo Electric Power Co., Asia’s largest utility, slumped 7.8 percent to 2,105 yen in Tokyo, after the Nikkei newspaper reported the company may sell shares. After Japan’s stock market closed, Tokyo Electric announced plans to raise as much as 555 billion yen ($6.6 billion) from a stock sale to finance expansion of atomic plants at home and abroad.
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