Asian stocks rose, snapping a three-day loss on the regional benchmark index, as technology shares gained and a gauge of mainland Chinese shares traded in Hong Kong posted its biggest weekly advance in two years.
Glorious Property Holdings Ltd. surged by a record in Hong Kong after Chinese billionaire Zhang Zhirong, the largest shareholder, offered as much as HK$4.57 billion ($589 million) to take the developer private. SoftBank Corp. rose to a 13-year high as Daniel Loeb’s hedge fund took a stake of more than $1 billion in the Japanese wireless carrier. Sharp Corp. jumped 8.4 percent on a report it will increase production of liquid-crystal display panels for smartphones.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.2 percent to 141.27 as of 9:13 p.m. in Hong Kong, with about five shares rising for every four that fell. The measure advanced 9.2 percent this year as investors bet the Federal Reserve will continue monthly bond buying into 2014. It is down 0.2 percent this week.
“The Hong Kong market is still relatively strong,” said Jackson Wong, vice president of Hong Kong-based brokerage Tanrich Securities Co. “The main focus in the last few days has been coal prices in China and financial reforms.”
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.5 percent and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index climbed 1 percent, bringing this week’s advance to 7 percent, the largest weekly gain since December 2011. The Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.4 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index was little changed.
Japan’s Topix index added 0.2 percent, after rising as much as 1 percent. The yen traded at 101.15 per dollar, after weakening past 101 yesterday for the first time since July. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 0.1 percent. Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said in parliament today in Tokyo that the yen isn’t “excessively weak.” The central bank yesterday maintained its unprecedented monetary policy.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index yesterday traded at 13.8 times estimated earnings, compared with 16.2 on the S&P 500 and 15.1 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed today. The gauge gained 0.8 percent yesterday, snapping a three-day decline, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 16,000 for the first time. The S&P 500 is poised for its best yearly gain in a decade.
Minutes of the Fed’s last meeting published this week showed policy makers expect ongoing improvement in the labor market to “warrant trimming the pace of purchases in coming months.” Fed Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard also told Bloomberg TV that a reduction in the Fed’s $85 billion-a-month bond buying program was “on the table” for next month.
The U.S. Senate Banking Committee yesterday voted 14-8 to approve Janet Yellen as the next chairman of the Fed, sending the nomination to the full Senate for approval.
U.S. jobless claims dropped by 21,000 to 323,000 last week, the fewest applications since September, the Labor Department said. The median forecast of 47 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a drop to 335,000. Another report showed wholesale prices fell for a second month in October and the Philadelphia Fed’s index of manufacturing in the region dropped to 6.5 in November, trailing the median economist estimate for a reading of 15.
Japan’s Topix index surged 45 percent this year as Kuroda maintained monetary easing and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sought to jolt the nation out of 15 years of deflation. It’s the best performing index of 24 developed markets tracked by Bloomberg.
The Topix will rise to 1,450 within the next 12 months and climb to 1,650 by the end of 2015, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. strategists wrote in a report. That’s a 32 percent surge from yesterday’s close through the end of 2015.
Glorious Property surged 33 percent to HK$1.65 in Hong Kong. Zhang will pay HK$1.80 a share, 45 percent more than the most recent closing price of HK$1.24 before trading resumed, for all outstanding stock.
Chinese insurers climbed after HSBC Holdings Plc said the industry will benefit from improving business environment and lesser regulatory headwinds next year. China Life Insurance Co. (2628), the nation’s biggest insurer, rose 2.7 percent to HK$25. Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. climbed 3 percent to HK$73.15.
SoftBank rose 2.3 percent to 8,150 yen in Tokyo, the highest closing level since May 2000. Daniel Loeb disclosed the stake in the Japanese wireless carrier at the Robin Hood Foundation’s investor conference in New York, according to a spokesperson for the U.S. investment firm.
Sharp surged 8.4 percent to 322 yen, the most since July 2 and the biggest advance on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index. The company will ramp up production of LCD screens for smartphones and produce panels for companies other than Apple Inc. at a plant in Kameyama, the Nikkei newspaper reported.
Japanese exporters advanced. Toyota Motor Corp., Asia’s biggest carmaker, gained 1 percent to 6,340 yen. Honda Motor Co. added 1.3 percent to 4,295 yen. Canon Inc., the world’s biggest camera maker, rose 1.1 percent to 3,285 yen.
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