Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Japan’s largest bank, climbed 2.1 percent. Canon gained 3.8 percent in Tokyo after the camera maker said it will spend as much as 50 billion yen ($502 million) to buy back its shares. Samsung Life Insurance Co. (032830) tumbled 5.2 percent in Seoul after the insurer’s fourth-biggest stockholder sold three million shares at a discount to yesterday’s closing price.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.4 percent to 133.07 as of 6:43 p.m. in Hong Kong after falling as much as 0.6 percent. Seven of the 10 industry groups on the gauge rose. The yen dropped 0.2 percent, before erasing losses, amid speculation the Bank of Japan and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will boost stimulus to offset an expected increase to the consumption tax.
“The fact that Japan’s leaders are looking to counter the impact of the sales-tax hike suggests that they are on top of the situation and we should hear more about how they plan to do so over the next week,” Stan Shamu, a Melbourne-based market strategist at IG Ltd., said in an e-mail. “This could even mean further stimulus might be on the way.”
Japan’s Topix index rose 0.6 percent as financial shares climbed. Mitsubishi UFJ climbed 2.1 percent to 620 yen. Mizuho Financial Group Inc. gained 1.9 percent to 212 yen.
Japanese shares could plunge at least 10 percent if Abe fails to carry through on a plan to raise a sales tax in April, according to 22 of 32 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.
The Bank of Japan began a two-day policy meeting today. The central bank will probably refrain from adding to the unprecedented easing unveiled in April, according to a Bloomberg News survey of economists.
Japan’s Topix has climbed 34 percent this year, the best performer among 24 developed markets tracked by Bloomberg, amid optimism Abe and the BOJ can lead the country out of deflation with unprecedented monetary easing and economic reforms.
Singapore’s Straits Times Index declined 1.3 percent, and Taiwan’s Taiex lost less than 0.1 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slipped 0.3 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite rose 0.2 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index gained less than 0.1 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index was little changed.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 0.7 percent, maintaining losses after a report showed the economy grew more than forecast last quarter as non-housing construction surged.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index has risen 2.9 percent so far this year, while the S&P 500 Index surged 15 percent, as investors pulled money from Asian and emerging markets amid concern the Federal Reserve will taper stimulus this month.
The Asia-Pacific benchmark trades at 13 times estimated earnings, compared with 14.8 times for the S&P 500 and 13.7 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
China’s Shanghai Composite lost 6.2 percent this year. President Xi Jinping said yesterday the nation’s slower economic growth this year was a conscious choice by the government to allow it to adjust the nation’s economic structure.
Canon rose 3.8 percent to 3,145 yen in Tokyo after the camera maker said it will buy back as much as 1.6 percent of its outstanding shares from Sept. 4 to Nov. 1.
Samsung Life sank 5.2 percent to 100,000 won in Seoul after CJ Corp. sold shares in a sale expected to raise $286 million.
Isuzu Motors Ltd. (7202) lost 2.4 percent to 606 yen in Tokyo. Deutsche Bank AG downgraded its the carmaker’s equity rating to hold from buy.
HTC Corp. plunged 6.8 percent to NT$137.50 in Taipei, an eight-year low. Investors are worried the company’s August sales will decline 20 percent as consumers refrain from buying mobile phones as Apple Inc. prepares to release new products, Jih Sun Securities analyst Fu-li Chen said by telephone today.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell less than 0.1 percent. The equities gauge added 0.4 percent in New York yesterday as the Institute for Supply Management reported its U.S. manufacturing index increased to 55.7 in August, the strongest reading since June 2011, from 55.4 in July. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey was 54. Readings above 50 percent indicate growth.
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