Asian Stocks Rise as Earnings Counter U.S. Debt Concerns; Canon Advances

Asian stocks rose as forecasts for higher earnings at companies from Canon Inc. (7751) to Baidu Inc. countered concerns the deadlock on the U.S. debt ceiling could derail the global economic recovery.

Canon, the world’s largest camera maker, led exporters higher as it advanced 2.6 percent after boosting its profit forecast as Japan’s record earthquake on March 11 had less impact on earnings than expected, even as the yen strengthened against the dollar. Baidu Inc., China’s biggest Internet company by market value, jumped 9.3 percent in Singapore after forecasting third-quarter revenue that beat analyst estimates. BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), the world’s No. 1 mining company by market value, advanced 1.1 percent as copper and gold prices rose.

“It is optimism over earnings globally that is holding up stock markets up at the moment,” said Nader Naeimi, a Sydney- based strategist for AMP Capital Investors Ltd., which has almost $100 billion under management globally. “Earnings are fundamentally in good shape, and that’s to some extent easing concern over the many risks that are still out there.”

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index increased 1.1 percent 139.19 as of 7:58 p.m. in Tokyo. About two stocks rose for each that fell on the gauge. The measure rose 2.5 percent last week, erasing the regional benchmark index’s loss for the year, as steps by European leaders toward easing the region’s sovereign debt crisis, including fresh aid for Greece, boosted the earnings outlook for Asia’s banks and exporters.

Positive Central Banks

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average advanced 0.5 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index increased 0.9 percent as Bank of Korea Deputy Governor Kim Jae Chun said economic growth will pick up in the second half and exports are “pretty strong.”

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 1 percent after the Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens said the nation’s subdued household spending will likely rebound.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index (HSI) rose 1.3 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite index climbed 0.5 percent.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.2 percent today, erasing losses of as much as 0.5 percent. The S&P retreated 0.6 percent yesterday in New York as Republicans and Democrats wrangled over separate plans to raise the federal debt limit and avoid a government default.

President Obama said in a televised speech from the White House that the nation’s burgeoning deficit threatens to do “serious” damage to the economy and pressured Congress to reach a compromise on a deal to raise the debt ceiling and address future shortfalls.

Dollar Slides

The dollar fell to below 78 yen for the first time since March as Obama urged Congress to address future deficits while lawmakers struggle to reach an accord to raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by an Aug. 2 deadline. Positive earnings forecasts from Canon and Kao Corp. (4452) outweighed concern that the stronger yen is reducing the outlook for earnings at Japanese exporters when overseas income is repatriated.

Canon jumped 2.6 percent to 3,885 yen, the third-biggest boost to the MSCI Asia Pacific Index and biggest support to Japan’s broader Topix index, which climbed 0.5 percent. Kao gained 4.7 percent to 2,262 yen to its highest level since April.

Canon said yesterday its full year net income may total 260 billion yen ($3.3 billion), 18 percent higher than the company’s April forecast, on a lower-than-expected impact from Japan’s strongest earthquake. Kao said net income in the quarter ended June 30 rose 22 percent to 15.2 billion yen and boosted its full-year net income outlook by 7.5 percent to 57 billion yen.

‘A Good Start’

“Companies thought the recovery from the quake would take longer, but earnings are coming back quickly,” said Naoki Fujiwara, who helps oversee $6 billion at Shinkin Asset Management Co. in Tokyo. “More and more companies will raise earnings forecasts even after factoring in the impact from the yen’s rise.”

In Singapore, American depositary receipts of Baidu jumped 9.3 percent to $164. The company said revenue will rise to between 3.95 billion yuan ($613 million) and 4.05 billion yuan in the three months to Sept. 30, beating 11 analysts estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Internet companies Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Alibaba.com Ltd. also advanced, rising 1.9 percent and 2.2 percent respectively in Hong Kong.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was unchanged this year through yesterday, compared with a gain of 6.3 percent by the S&P 500 and a drop of 1.6 percent by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 13.6 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.4 times for the S&P 500 and 11 times for the Stoxx 600.

Copper, Oil

BHP rose 1.1 percent to A$43.52, the biggest support to the MSCI Asia Pacific Index. Rio Tinto Group, the world’s second- largest mining company by sales, advanced 1.1 percent to A$82.99. Jiangxi Copper Co., the Chinese producer of metal, rose 2.6 percent to HK$28.05.

Copper in London gained as much as 1.1 percent to $9,756 a metric ton today, climbing for the first time in five days. Crude oil for September delivery was at $98.80 a barrel, up 40 cents, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange today.

Casino stocks in Hong Kong pared declines that followed a blast at a Macau restaurant that injured 13 people, according to the fire department. The blast was caused by leaks from gas tanks, the department’s spokesman Lam Io-Fan said by telephone.

Wynn Macau Ltd., a unit of the casino operator founded by billionaire Steven Wynn, lost as much as 4.5 percent before paring declines to 0.4 percent. Sands China Ltd. (1928), Asia’s biggest casino company by market value, retreated 1.8 percent after sliding 3.5 percent.

The blast at a restaurant near Macau’s main ferry terminal was an accident, police spokesman Suen Kam-Fai said to Bloomberg News by telephone. The fire department is at the site and handling the situation, Suen said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Anna Kitanaka in Tokyo at akitanaka@bloomberg.net; Shani Raja in Sydney at sraja4@bloomberg.net.

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

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