Most Asian stocks rose, with Japan’s Topix Index closing at a 4 1/2 year high as the yen weakened past 100 against the dollar for the first time since 2009, boosting the earnings outlook for exporters.
Nikon Corp. (7731), a camera manufacturer that gets 85 percent of sales outside Japan, soared 15 percent as its earnings forecast topped estimates. Sharp Corp. jumped 6.4 percent, bringing this week’s advance to 34 percent, as the Asahi newspaper reported the Japanese TV maker will cut 5,000 jobs. Mighty River Power Ltd. jumped 4.8 percent on its trading debut after New Zealand’s government sold a stake in the nation’s biggest initial public offering.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 0.3 percent to 142.13 as of 6:27 p.m. in Tokyo, with about two stocks rising for every two that fell. The gauge is headed for a 1.5 percent advance this week. Japan’s Topix rose 2.4 percent to the highest closing level since September 2008.
“If you have a supportive export environment with the U.S. getting better, Europe has stopped getting worse, it actually augurs well for Japan for the medium term,” Simon Flood, chief investment officer at Lion Global Investors Ltd. in Singapore, where he helps oversee $25.5 billion, told Bloomberg TV. “There are a lot of great companies there, quality is high. If this Japanese story is more substance than form, you’re going to see a lot of international investors focusing their attention and looking for opportunities there.”
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.2 percent, closing at a five-year high. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index climbed 0.3 percent. South Korea’s Kospi Index slid 1.8 percent, the most in 10 months, as exporters retreated after the won climbed to its highest against the yen in more than four years. Taiwan’s Taiex Index declined 0.1 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.5 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite gained 0.6 percent.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index, the benchmark regional equities gauge, increased 10 percent this year through yesterday amid speculation the Bank of Japan will deploy more measures to beat deflation as policy makers in the U.S. and Europe remain on standby to buoy growth.
That gauge traded at 14.2 times average estimated earnings yesterday, compared with 14.7 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) and 13.2 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Of the 329 companies that reported quarterly earnings since the beginning of April and for which estimates are available, 51 percent exceeded expectations, while 49 percent missed forecasts, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Nikon surged 15 percent to 2,500 yen, the biggest gain in more than four years. Mazda Motor Corp., the Japanese automaker most dependent on exports, gained 7.2 percent to 356 yen. The yen fell to 101.07 per dollar as of 3:21 p.m. in Tokyo, the lowest level since 2009. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 2.9 percent, taking its gain for the shortened trading week to 6.7 percent, the most in more than three years.
Japan’s currency has extended declines against the dollar since Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda outstripped economist forecasts April 4 by pledging to double monthly bond purchases and scoop up longer-term debt to reach a 2 percent annual inflation goal.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.3 percent. The measure fell 0.4 percent yesterday, following five consecutive days of record closes, as Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Charles Plosser said he favors scaling back the central bank’s pace of stimulus.
Sharp jumped 6.4 percent to 450 yen. The Asahi reported proposed job cuts at Japan’s largest liquid-crystal display maker ahead of the release this month of full-year earnings as banks consider a 150 billion yen ($1.5 billion) lifeline to help stave off a September default.
Mighty River Power rose 4.8 percent to NZ$2.62 in Wellington. The New Zealand government raised NZ$1.7 billion (NZ$1.4 billion) from the IPO as Prime Minister John Key sells state assets to reduce borrowing after the budget deficit reached a record following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.
DeNA Co., Japan’s largest social-game website operator, tumbled 15 percent to 2,372 yen after forecasting first-quarter operating profit that is below analyst estimates.
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