Asian stocks rose, with a regional benchmark index heading for its highest close in a week, as reports on U.S. jobs and service industries beat expectations, easing concern the world’s biggest economy is slowing.
Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), the world’s largest carmaker by market value, climbed 3 percent in Tokyo. Fisher & Paykel Appliances Holdings Ltd. advanced 3.7 percent in Wellington after directors of the refrigerator maker rejected a bid from China’s Haier Corp., saying it is too low. Swire Properties Ltd. fell 2.9 percent after the controlling shareholder of the Hong Kong office landlord said it’s selling shares at a discount.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) increased 0.6 percent to 122.20 as of 6:05 p.m. in Tokyo, with almost two shares rising for each that fell. The regional index gained 4 percent in September amid speculation China will add to stimulus measures, following moves by central banks in the U.S. and Japan, to ease monetary policy through so-called quantitative easing.
U.S. jobs data “was a little bit better than expectations and that’s positive,” said George Boubouras, Melbourne-based head of investment strategy at the Australian wealth-management unit of UBS AG. The Swiss bank has about $1.5 trillion in assets under management. “Stimulus is there for a reason.”
Central Bank Meetings
The Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) jumped 0.9 percent. The Bank of Japan started a two-day policy meeting today after last month boosting its asset-purchase program by to 55 trillion yen ($700 billion). Political leadership changes and deepening pessimism among manufacturers is compelling the central bank to do more to combat deflation and spur economic growth.
The European Central Bank and the Bank of England also hold policy meetings today, after the Reserve Bank of Australia unexpectedly cut interest rates on Oct. 2.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.3 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.1 percent, while South Korea’s Kospi Index lost 0.2 percent. Markets in China remain closed today for holidays.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.3 percent today. The index gained 0.4 percent in New York yesterday, when ADP Employer Services said companies added 162,000 jobs last month, exceeding the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg for a 140,000 advance. Service industries in the U.S. expanded more than forecast in September.
Toyota climbed 3 percent to 3,095 yen in Tokyo. Honda Motor Co. (7267), which gets about 44 percent of sales from North America, increased 3.1 percent to 2,433 yen. James Hardie Industries SE, a building-materials supplier that counts the U.S. as its biggest market, jumped 4.2 percent to A$9.18 in Sydney.
Woongjin Coway Co., a South Korean maker of water purifiers, jumped 14 percent to 34,400 won in Seoul, the most on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index. Creditors of its parent Woongjin Group, which filed for bankruptcy protection last month, are backing private equity firm MBK Partners Ltd. in buying Woongjin Coway, the Korea Economic Daily reported yesterday, citing an unidentified bank official.
Fisher & Paykel gained 3.7 percent to NZ$1.25 in Wellington. The company’s directors rejected a NZ$869 million ($711 million), or NZ$1.20 a share, offer by Haier, China’s biggest appliance maker. The bid is less than a value range of NZ$1.28 to NZ$1.57 a share determined by adviser Grant Samuel, said the independent directors, led by Chairman Keith Turner.
Lee & Man Paper Manufacturing Ltd. (2314) climbed 7.9 percent to HK$3.68 in Hong Kong after JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its rating on the stock to overweight from neutral, saying profit margins will improve next year as the supplier of paper and packaging products increases prices.
Izumi Co. (8273), a Japanese shopping-center operator, jumped 23 to 2,013 yen in Tokyo after announcing a share buyback and raising its net-income forecast.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 6.7 percent this year through yesterday as policy makers boosted stimulus measures to counter a global economic slowdown and tame Europe’s debt crisis. The Asian benchmark index traded at 12.8 times estimated earnings, compared with 13.8 times for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.
Among stocks that declined, Swire Properties fell 2.9 percent to HK$23.25. John Swire & Sons Ltd. said it’s selling 217 million of the company’s shares at HK$22.51 each, a 6 percent discount to yesterday’s closing price.
Billabong International Ltd. (BBG) slumped 18 percent to A$1.075 before trading was halted in Sydney. TPG International LLC is considering withdrawing its bid for the surfwear maker, the Australian Financial Review reported, citing unnamed people it said were familiar with the situation. The company requested a trading halt pending the release of a statement on the matter.
Computer makers declined after Hewlett-Packard Co. forecast 2013 profit that missed analyst estimates. Quanta Computer Inc. (2382), a laptop maker that counts HP as its biggest customer, declined 4 percent to NT$74.50 in Taipei. Compal Electronics Inc. fell 3.6 percent to NT$24.05.
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