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Asia Stocks Swing Between Gain, Loss as Share Sales Temper Stimulus Hopes

Asian stocks rose after swinging between gains and losses for most of the day as job cuts in Australia, share sale concerns and a report China may raise interest rates countered speculation the U.S. will do more to stimulate economic growth.

Samsung Electronics Co., which counts America as its second-biggest market, rose 3.2 percent in Seoul. Commonwealth Bank of Australia slumped 0.6 percent in Sydney. Belle International Holdings Ltd., a Chinese retailer of women’s shoes, tumbled 8.5 percent after saying some staff may sell its shares. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (1398) Ltd., the nation’s biggest lender by market value, fell 1 percent ahead of China’s inflation data tomorrow and after the Securities Times reported the country may raise rates.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.3 percent to 122.01 at 7:52 p.m. in Tokyo, having swung between a gain of 0.9 percent and a loss of 0.2 percent. The gauge slumped 8.6 percent last month, the most since May 2010, amid concern global economic growth is slowing as Europe’s sovereign debt crisis spreads and after Standard & Poor’s cut the U.S. credit rating.

“Markets are uncertain as to whether more U.S. stimulus will give a meaningful catalyst to global growth,” said Tim Schroeders, who helps manage $1 billion in equities at Pengana Capital Ltd. in Melbourne. “A lot will depend on any policy initiatives that are announced over the next couple of weeks.”

Regional Benchmarks

Japan’s Nikkei 225 (NKY) Stock Average rose 0.3 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index swung between gains and losses after a statistics bureau report showed the nation’s employers unexpectedly cut workers for a second straight month in August. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropped 0.7 percent.

South Korea’s Kospi Index swung between gains of 1.3 percent and losses of 0.4 percent after the central bank held off on raising borrowing costs.

Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh Stock index jumped 2.1 percent, the biggest gain among regional benchmark indexes. The gauge has risen for 10 days straight, its longest streak of advance since August 2008.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed after swinging between a gain of 0.3 percent and a retreat of 0.6 percent today. In New York, the index rose 2.9 percent yesterday as President Barack Obama prepared to unveil today a $300 billion program of tax cuts, infrastructure spending and direct aid to state and local governments to spur jobs growth.

Obama Plan

Equities were supported by speculation that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will today signal that policy makers will consider further stimulus measures to spur the economy. Bernanke is scheduled to address the U.S. economic outlook at a speech in Minneapolis. Fed policymakers will meet for two days from Sept. 20 to discuss the economy and appropriate responses.

Samsung Electronics gained 3.2 percent to 798,000 won in Seoul, the biggest support to the MSCI Asia Pacific Index. Hyundai Mobis, an automotive parts supplier which earns 62 percent of revenue from outside South Korea, increased 2.8 percent to 334,000 won in Seoul. Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Co., a shipper that receives 45 percent of its sales from offshore, surged 9.3 percent to 23,000 won.

HTC Corp., a Taiwanese maker of smartphones, increased 3.4 percent to NT$783 after the company filed an infringement claim against Apple Inc. yesterday, using patents it bought from Google Inc. last week.

Stocks in Australia swung between gains and losses after a report showed the nation unexpectedly cut jobs. The number of people employed fell by 9,700, after a revised 4,100 drop in July, the statistics bureau said. That compared with economists’ median estimate for a gain of 10,000 workers.

Japan Machinery Orders

Commonwealth Bank of Australia reversed a gain to decline 0.6 percent to A$47.22, the biggest drag on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index.

Fanuc Corp., a Japanese maker of industrial automation equipment, led machinery makers lower after government data showed the sector’s orders during July were less than estimated. Fanuc slumped 3.4 percent to 11,610 yen.

Among other stocks that declined, Belle International, a Chinese maker of women’s shoes, tumbled 8.5 percent to HK$14.88, the biggest drag on the Hang Seng Index. The company said managers, including Chief Executive Officer Sheng Baijiao, plan to sell shares in the company.

Woori Investment

In Seoul, Woori Investment & Securities Co., a South Korean brokerage, tumbled 15 percent to 11,100 won in Seoul, the second-biggest drop on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index. Woori Investment may sell new shares to raise 500 billion won this year, Newstomato earlier reported, citing unidentified industry officials. The company said it is considering various ways to raise capital.

Also in South Korea, Daewoo Securities Co. plunged 15 percent to 11,700 won after it announced plans to sell 1.4 trillion won of new shares.

Stocks also declined after Chinese newspaper the Securities Times reported the government may boost rates this month or next, and ahead of data which may show China’s August consumer price index, scheduled to be released tomorrow, may increase 6.2 percent from a year earlier, according to the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China slid 1 percent to HK$4.99 in Hong Kong.

Food Additives

China Yurun Food Group Ltd. (1068), a mainland meat supplier, tumbled 16 percent to HK$13.94. Additives to stimulate the growth of lean meat were found in some of the company’s products, the National Business Daily reported, citing an unidentified employee at Yurun’s unit in Henan province.

Cnooc Ltd. (883), which co-owns the Penglai 19-3 field with ConocoPhillips which leaked oil, declined 1 percent to HK$14.06 after the Chinese government ordered a “thorough” investigation into the leaks.

“Investors are waiting for the CPI data from China tomorrow,” taking a wait-and-see approach, said Linus Yip, chief strategist at First Shanghai Securities in Hong Kong.

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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