Asian stocks rose, led by mining companies, after faster-than-forecast U.S. employment growth bolstered optimism in the world’s largest economy, pushing a regional equities gauge toward a ten-week high.
BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company, advanced 2.8 percent in Sydney. Malayan Banking Bhd., the company with the second-largest weighting on the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index (FBMKLCI), briefly advanced to a record high after Prime Minister Najib Razak won a clear majority in a general election, giving him a mandate to continue his economic reforms. Cosco Corp. Singapore Ltd. lost 5.8 percent as profit at the shipbuilder plunged 65 percent.
The MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index gained 0.6 percent to 483.78 as of 9:32 p.m. in Tokyo, with about two stocks rising for each that declined. Markets in Japan, Thailand and the U.K. are closed for a holiday.
“Resilient U.S. private demand, bolstered by stronger-than-expected jobs data last Friday, should help risk appetite,” said Michael Kurtz, Hong-Kong based head of global equity strategy at Nomura Holdings Inc., Japan’s largest brokerage. “We remain positive on regional equities.”
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index, the benchmark regional equities gauge that includes Japan, climbed 8.2 percent this year through the end of last week amid optimism the Bank of Japan will deploy more measures to beat deflation and that policy makers in the U.S. and China remain on standby to buoy growth.
That left the gauge trading at 14.1 times average estimated earnings on May 3 compared with 14.6 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 13.1 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index advanced 1 percent and the Shanghai Composite added 1.2 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index slipped 0.2 percent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index (AS51) advanced 0.5 percent, closing near a five-year high. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 1.1 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index added 0.4 percent and Taiwan’s Taiex Index rose 0.4 percent.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 0.1 percent today after the U.S. gauge closed at a record high May 3. The U.S. bull market entered its fifth year in March and the S&P 500 has surged 139 percent from a 12-year low in 2009, driven by better-than-estimated corporate earnings and three rounds of bond purchases by the Federal Reserve.
U.S. payrolls expanded by 165,000 last month and revisions to the prior two months added a total of 114,000 jobs, a government report showed May 3. The median forecast of economists in a Bloomberg survey called for an increase of 140,000 positions.
The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index gained 3.4 percent to a record, paring an earlier 7.8 percent surge at the open. Trading volume was about double the 30-day average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Najib’s Barisan Nasional coalition won 133 seats in the 222-member parliament, Election Commission data showed, with votes still being counted. Anwar’s People’s Alliance had 88 seats, the commission said, with one yet to be called.
Malayan Banking rose 4.1 percent to 9.98 ringgit, after earlier jumping as much as 8.5 percent. UEM Land Holdings Bhd., an engineering and construction company, surged 13 percent to 2.98 ringgit and CIMB Group Holdings Bhd., the nation’s second-biggest lender by market value, soared 9.7 percent to 8.35 ringgit.
A measure of raw-material shares on the regional equities gauge advanced 1.7 percent. BHP Billiton jumped 2.8 percent to A$32.87 and Rio Tinto Group climbed 3.1 percent to A$56.20. Jiangxi Copper Ltd. increased 5.2 percent to HK$15.86.
Hyosung Corp. added 1.4 percent to 58,300 won after profit at the South Korean industrial firm topped analyst forecasts.
Largan Precision Co. (3008), a Taiwanese maker of optical lenses, rose 4 percent to NTT$842, the highest in five months, after reporting a 62 percent increase in sales in April.
Cosco Singapore, a unit of China’s biggest shipping company, tumbled 5.8 percent to 82 Singapore cents, heading for the lowest closing level in four years, as first-quarter net income fell 65 percent to S$9.7 million.
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