Asian stocks rose for the first time in three days, with the regional benchmark heading for its biggest advance in a month, after economic reports in China and the U.S. beat estimates and the yen traded near a 30-month low.
Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), the world’s biggest automaker, gained 2.1 percent to its highest since October 2008. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., the world’s biggest lender by market value, added 1.7 percent in Hong Kong. Rio Tinto Group, the world’s second-largest mining company, rose 2.7 percent in Sydney after Chief Executive Officer Tom Albanese resigned without getting a cash windfall.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) gained 1.2 percent to 132.72 as of 7 p.m. Tokyo time. Almost four shares rose for each that fell on the gauge, which is set for a 0.7 percent advance this week. Chinese shares traded in Hong Kong and Shanghai climbed after the nation’s economic growth accelerated for the first time in two years and industrial output picked up.
“This rally can continue as the economic recovery in China and the U.S. will support company earnings,” said Michiya Tomita, a Hong Kong-based fund manager at Mitsubishi UFJ Asset Management Co., which oversees $70 billion. “Everyone seem to be bullish on the Japanese market, which also supports sentiment around Asia. The weaker yen will boost Japanese exporters’ earnings.”
The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index is rallying for a third month amid signs the U.S. and Chinese economies are recovering and Japanese shares rallied for a 10th week on speculation Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will pursue more aggressive stimulus policies. The Asian benchmark trades at 14.3 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.4 times for the S&P 500 and 12 times for the Stoxx 600.
China’s Shanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP) gained 1.4 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 1.1 percent. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland companies traded in the city climbed 2.1 percent, the highest close since August 2011.
The nation’s economy expanded 7.9 percent in the fourth quarter, according to government data. That compared with median estimate of 7.8 percent in a Bloomberg News survey and 7.4 percent in the previous three months. Industrial output in December rose a more-than-expected 10.3 percent and fixed-asset investment for the year gained 20.6 percent.
“Some of the macroeconomic risks that the markets have been dealing with for the last couple of years continue to recede,” Mark D. Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia, said on Bloomberg Television. His firm manages about $54 billion in assets. “The intervention the Bank of Japan is undertaking to weaken the yen should produce better profits for Japanese multinationals. China’s story is one of accelerating GDP growth.”
The Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) jumped 2.9 percent to its highest close since April 2010. The gauge extended its rally for a 10th week, the longest streak of weekly gains since April 1987, as the yen traded near a 2 1/2-year low amid speculation the Bank of Japan will decide to conduct open-ended asset buying to stoke inflation at a two-day policy meeting starting Jan. 21.
Japanese stocks are the most sensitive to yen swings in 24 years, leaving $343 billion in equity gains since November at the mercy of the currency, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News.
South Korea’s Kospi Index added 0.7 percent, while Taiwan’s Taiex Index climbed 1.5 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.3 percent.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed today. The index added 0.6 percent in New York yesterday, when data showed builders started more houses than forecast in December and first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell more than forecast last week.
Exporters advanced. Toyota gained 2.1 percent to 4,300 yen. Honda Motor Co. (7267), a Japanese carmaker that gets about 44 percent of sales from North America, climbed 3.2 percent. Sony Corp. soared 12 percent after announcing the sale of its New York headquarters for $1.1 billion.
Chinese lenders and raw-material producers gained on signs growth is rebounding. ICBC, as the nation’s biggest lender is known, rose 1.7 percent to HK$5.94 in Hong Kong. Jiangxi Copper Co. (358) climbed 1.7 percent to HK$21.45. Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. increased 3.1 percent to HK$3.97.
Rio Tinto jumped 2.7 percent to A$66.35 in Sydney. The company said Albanese resigned as CEO without a cash windfall, forgoing his bonus for a third straight year after failed deals in aluminum and coal led the miner to $14 billion in writedowns.
Japanese semiconductor-equipment makers rallied after Intel Corp., the world’s biggest chipmaker, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp., the largest producer of contract producer chips, announced plans to raise capital spending this year.
Tokyo Electron Ltd., the world’s No. 2 maker of semiconductor-production machinery, surged 8.4 percent to 4,125 yen. Advantest Corp., the biggest producer of memory-chip testers, climbed 8.2 percent to 1,380 yen.
TSMC added 2.2 percent to NT$101.50 in Taipei after forecasting first-quarter sales that beat estimates. First- quarter revenue will be NT$127 billion to NT$129 billion ($4.4 billion to $4.5 billion) against estimates for a NT$124 billion gain, the Hsinchu, Taiwan-based company said yesterday.
Trauson Holdings Co. surged 41 percent to HK$7.25 in Hong Kong, heading for its biggest advance since June 2010, after Stryker Corp. offered $764 million in cash to acquire the Chinese maker of orthopedic implants.
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