Asian stocks rose, taking the MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index to its longest winning streak since July, ahead of a report this week that may show the labor market improving in the world’s biggest economy.
Hynix Semiconductor Inc., the world’s second-largest computer-memory chipmaker, climbed 5.4 percent in Seoul. Pou Chen Corp., a Taiwanese maker of shoes for Nike Inc. and Adidas AG, jumped 6.9 percent. Foxconn International Holdings Ltd., the world’s biggest contract maker of mobile phones, gained 5 percent in Hong Kong. New World Development Co., which gets about 35 percent of its revenue from China, rose 2.5 percent as growth in China’s manufacturing activity slowed, signaling the country’s efforts to rein in inflation may be working.
“In the U.S., not just the employment market is improving, but other areas, such as corporate earnings and manufacturing, are looking pretty strong,” said Chris Leung, a Hong Kong-based fund manager at Haitong International Asset Management, which oversees about $400 million. “We are fully invested right now. For the second half of this year, we’re pretty bullish.”
The MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index climbed 0.9 percent to 483.30 at 6.15 p.m. in Hong Kong, with more than three stocks advancing for each that fell. It was the gauge’s sixth day of increase -- the longest winning streak since the eight days ended July 29 -- and extended its 1.9 percent gain last week.
The index increased 15 percent in 2010 on speculation growth in corporate profits will weather Europe’s debt crisis, China’s steps to curb inflation and concern about the pace of the U.S. economic rebound.
Markets in Japan, Australia, New Zealand and China are closed today.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 1.7 percent to 23,436.05. Singapore’s Straits Times Index rose 1.5 percent while Taiwan’s Taiex gained 0.6 percent. South Korea’s Kospi Index increased 0.9 percent. India’s Sensex Index gained 0.2 percent today in Mumbai.
Hynix gained 5.4 percent to 25,300 won. Pou Chen rallied 6.9 percent to NT$28.80 in Taipei. Foxconn climbed 5 percent to HK$5.70 in Hong Kong.
A projected 140,000 gain in December payrolls is the median forecast of 61 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News before the Jan. 7 report from the Labor Department. The unemployment rate may have eased to 9.7 percent from 9.8 percent. Other reports may show faster growth at the nation’s factories and service industries last month.
China PMI Weakens
New World rose 2.5 percent to HK$14.96 in Hong Kong. Agile Property Holdings Ltd., a real estate developer in China, climbed 3.2 percent to HK$11.80. Angang Steel Co., a mainland Chinese steelmaker, gained 2.2 percent to HK$12.16.
China’s manufacturing activity grew at the weakest pace in three months in December after the government tightened monetary policy to restrain inflation and closed factories to meet energy-efficiency targets.
The Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 53.9 from 55.2 in November, the first decline in five months, a report from the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing showed yesterday. That was less than the median estimate of 55 in a Bloomberg News survey of 13 economists. A measure of manufacturers’ input costs also fell.
The Chinese government intensified its fight against inflation in 2010 by raising banks’ reserve ratio requirements six times, tightening lending rules, and increasing interest rates twice.
“Tightening will go on in China, but not to the extent people have expected before,” Haitong’s Leung said.
Alibaba.com Ltd., China’s biggest online-commerce site, surged 8.6 percent, the biggest jump on the MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index, to HK$15.14. The company denied a report by China Knowledge Newswires that said it provided profit projections for 2010 to 2012. Alibaba aimed to increase 2010 profit by 50.3 percent from 2009, and wants to maintain annual growth rate of more than 50 percent through 2012, China Knowledge said Dec. 30.
Manila Electric Co., Philippine’s largest power retailer, advanced 7.5 percent to 245 pesos in Manila trading after the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported it plans to invest 45 billion pesos ($1.02 billion) in four years for upgrades, citing Chief Operating Officer Oscar Reyes.
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