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Asian Stock Index Little Changed as Hong Kong, India Gain

Stocks in Hong Kong and India advanced while Australia and South Korea declined, leaving Asia’s benchmark equity index little changed.

Citic Securities Co. (6030) jumped 10 percent in Hong Kong, pacing gains among Chinese brokerages, as the government prepares to end a ban on initial public offerings. ICICI Bank Ltd. rose 1.8 percent, pacing gains among Indian lenders as the nation’s economic growth beat economist estimates. KT Corp. (030200) dropped 6.8 percent after the South Korean phone company forecast a lower dividend payout.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 0.1 at 141.86 as of 6:40 p.m. in Hong Kong, having swung between gains of 0.1 percent and losses of 0.3 percent. More than $8 trillion has been added to the value of global equities this year, the biggest increase since 2009, as central banks took steps to shore up economies worldwide.

“There’s always going to be doubts about whether the growth we’re seeing in the U.S. is going to be sustainable after the central bank starts to taper stimulus,” said Nader Naeimi, Sydney-based head of dynamic asset allocation at AMP Capital Investors Ltd., which manages $131 billion. “While the U.S. market is starting to look frothy, we continue to see value in markets like China and Japan.”

China’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index, released yesterday, came in at 51.4 for November, matching the 18-month high reached in October and beating 24 of 26 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. A separate report for HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics today showed PMI was at 50.8 last month, compared with 50.9 in October.

Regional Gauges

The S&P BSE Sensex gained 0.5 percent as lenders rose after the nation’s economic growth accelerated last quarter from a four-year low. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index advanced 0.7 percent, led by brokerages. Singapore’s Straits Times Index rose 0.4 percent, and Taiwan’s Taiex Index gained 0.1 percent.

South Korea’s Kospi Index fell 0.7 percent as reports showed that the annual inflation rate quickened to 0.9 percent in November from 0.7 percent in October while manufacturing growth accelerated. Australia’s S&P/ASX slipped 0.8 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index lost 0.1 percent.

The Topix index closed little changed in Tokyo even after reports showed Japanese capital spending rose 1.5 percent in the third quarter and company profits jumped 24.1 percent.

The Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.6 percent, the most since Nov. 13, amid concern China’s plan to restart initial public offerings may divert funds from existing equities.

“The IPO plan is dragging stocks down, especially the small-cap shares,” said Xu Shengjun, analyst at Jianghai Securities Co. “With new stocks coming that are going to be much cheaper and more attractive, it’s ridiculous to want to buy the expensive small-caps.”

Thai Protests

Thailand’s SET Index added 0.2 percent. Protesters seeking to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra vowed more unrest after clashes left three dead in Bangkok at the weekend. Global funds pulled a net $2.8 billion from Thai bonds and equities in November, official data show. Bank of Thailand Governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul said Nov. 30 that consumption, investment and tourism are being affected.

“The current political tension is indeed hurting the equity market sentiment,” Kum Soek Ching, head of Southeast Asia research at Credit Suisse Private Banking, said. “It’s likely to weigh down on the private consumption as well as probably GDP growth in the very near term.”

The Asia-Pacific equity index has jumped 9.7 percent this year amid signs the global economy is recovering. It traded at 14 times estimated earnings, the highest level since May, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That compares with 16.3 on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index last week and 15.2 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

U.S. Futures

Futures on the S&P 500 Index slipped 0.1 percent today. The equities gauge lost 0.1 percent on Nov. 29 as investors sold shares in the final half hour of a shortened trading session, erasing earlier gains fueled by a rally in online retailers amid Black Friday sales.

U.S. brick-and-mortar retailers eked out a 2.3 percent sales gain on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, in line with a prediction for the weakest holiday results since 2009.

Chinese brokerages advanced after the nation’s securities regulator issued a reform plan for IPOs on Nov. 30, as the government prepares to lift a more than one-year freeze on new listings. Citic Securities, China’s largest brokerage by market value, jumped 10 percent to a record close of HK$21.60. Haitong Securities Co. rose 5.7 percent to an all-time high of HK$14.18.

Indian Lenders

Indian banks climbed after the nation’s gross domestic product growth accelerated to 4.8 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, surpassing the 4.6 percent median forecast in a Bloomberg survey. ICICI gained 1.8 percent to 1,088.30 rupees in Mumbai.

Metcash Ltd. (MTS) climbed 7.5 percent to A$3.28 in Sydney after the supplier of groceries to retailers posted first-half underlying profit that beat analyst estimates.

Among stocks that fell, KT Corp. slid 6.8 percent to 31,450 won in Seoul. Dongbu Securities Co. cut its rating to hold from buy after the phone carrier forecast a lower dividend.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Burgos in Singapore at jburgos4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sarah McDonald at smcdonald23@bloomberg.net

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