Asian Stocks Rise Second Day as Greece Seals Debt Swap
Asian stocks rose for a second day as Greece struck a deal with creditors to help Europe contain its debt crisis and slowing inflation gave Chinese authorities room to stimulate growth in the world’s second largest economy.
Sony Corp. (6758), which depends on Europe for a fifth of its sales, rose 4.3 percent. Guangzhou R&F Properties Company Ltd. led Chinese developers higher on speculation China may ease curbs on bank lending. Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM) advanced 4.2 percent in Sydney after metal prices gained. Lynas Corp. jumped 9.3 percent even after a local group filed an appeal to block the miner’s rare-earths refinery project in Malaysia.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (TPX) gained 1.1 percent to 127.40 as of 5:25 p.m. in Tokyo. The measure has lost 0.6 percent this week, snapping a record 11-week advance. The gauge has risen 80 percent since March 2009, the bottom of a global equities slump that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holding Inc., as central banks from China to the U.S. eased monetary policy.
“People have got ammunition to be a bit more upbeat about investment markets,” said Angus Gluskie, who manages more than $350 million at White Funds Management in Sydney. “What we are likely to see today and overnight is a reminder for people that the Greek risk, at least for the moment, has been taken off the table and economic data is all heading off in the right direction.”
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 1.7 percent. The gauge outperformed every other major Asian equity index today, rising above 10,000 for the first time since Aug. 1. A decline in the yen against the dollar buoyed shares of exporters from Sony to Toyota Motor Corp.
Volume for the Nikkei 225 was 67 percent above the 30-day average as investors settled on the price for futures and options on the gauge.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 1 percent, and South Korea’s Kospi Index advanced 0.9 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.9 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index, which tracks the bigger of China’s stock exchanges, climbed 0.8 percent. Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPXL1) slid 0.1 percent after the gauge rose 1 percent in New York yesterday.
Asian shares maintained gains after Greece’s government said it clinched enough bondholder participation to complete a debt swap seen as essential to containing Europe’s crisis. People with knowledge of the matter earlier said the deal was near completion.
Sony added 4.3 percent to 1,718 yen in Tokyo. Esprit Holdings Ltd. (330), a Hong-Kong based clothier that counts Europe as its biggest market, rose 1.5 percent to HK$18.52.
U.S. Jobs Data
In the U.S., the number of people filing claims for jobless benefits rose to 362,000 last week, a level still consistent with an improving labor market. The Labor Department will release its February jobs report today.
Mainland developers gained after the China reported today that consumer-prices rose in February at the slowest pace in 20 months. Separate reports showed industrial production and retail sales missed analyst forecasts.
The data “gives the Chinese government much more scope to adopt supportive policy measures,” White Funds Management’s Gluskie said. “That’s potentially a real positive coming on top of this Greek resolution.”
Guangzhou rose 2 percent to HK$10.10. Shimao Property Holdings Ltd. (813) advanced 3.1 percent to HK$8.74. China Resources Land Ltd. (1109), a state-controlled property developer, increased 2.1 percent to HK$13.82. Hitachi Construction Machinery Co. (6305), a machinery maker whose biggest market is China, gained 4.6 percent to 1,778 yen in Tokyo.
Mining companies rose after the London Metal Exchange Index increased 0.5 percent, the first advance for the gauge of metals prices since March 1. Newcrest Mining climbed 4.2 percent to A$31.93. St. Barbara Ltd. advanced 2.4 percent to A$2.16.
Lynas rose 9.3 percent to A$1.18. Shares rose even after the rare-earths miner said an appeal had been filed to block a project in Malaysia.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (TPX) gained 10.7 percent this year through yesterday, compared with an 8.6 percent advance by the S&P 500 and an 8 percent increase by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 14.7 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.1 times for the S&P 500 and 11 times for the Stoxx 600.
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