Asian stocks rose for the first time in four days after better-than-forecast growth in U.S. jobs and Chinese exports boosted investor confidence that cuts to Federal Reserve stimulus won’t derail the global economic recovery.
Techtronic Industries Co., a maker of power tools that gets about 73 percent of sales from North America, gained 1.2 percent in Hong Kong. State Bank of India, the nation’s biggest lender, climbed 1.7 percent as the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex Index jumped to a record. QBE Insurance Group Ltd. (QBE) tumbled 22 percent after Australia’s largest insurer by market value forecast an unexpected loss of about $250 million due to writedowns at its North American operations.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.8 percent to 140.55 as of 7:24 p.m. in Hong Kong, rebounding from the biggest weekly drop since August. All 10 industry groups on the measure rose, led by information technology and industrial companies.
“A solid payroll report boosted confidence that the U.S. economy is strong enough to withstand tapering,” Shane Oliver, who helps oversee $131 billion as head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors Ltd., said in an e-mail. “Market valuations are reasonable, monetary conditions are set to remain very easy and profits will improve next year.”
Japan’s Topix index advanced 1.6 percent and South Korea’s Kospi index added 1 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.1 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.8 percent, dragged lower by QBE. Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.1 percent.
Singapore’s Straits Times Index slid less than 0.1 percent and Taiwan’s Taiex Index climbed 0.9 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.3 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite was little changed.
Victories by the Bharatiya Janata Party in areas holding about a sixth of India’s 1.2 billion people would give it momentum to end the ruling Congress party’s decade-long rule in elections due by May 2014 and install Narendra Modi as prime minister.
Thailand’s SET Index fluctuated between gains of as much as 1.2 percent and losses of as much as 0.4 percent today as Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved parliament and called for fresh elections, seeking to end weeks of protests.
U.S. employers added 203,000 workers to nonfarm payrolls last month, more than the 185,000 increase predicted in a Bloomberg survey of economists, while the jobless rate dropped to a five-year low of 7 percent. The proportion of economists predicting the Fed will cut stimulus this month doubled after the Dec. 6 data.
More than $7 trillion has been added to the value of global equities this year, the most since 2009, as central banks took steps to shore up economies worldwide. The Federal Open Market Committee will probably begin cutting stimulus at its Dec. 17-18 meeting, according to 34 percent of economists surveyed Dec. 6 by Bloomberg, an increase from 17 percent in a Nov. 8 survey.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index has gained 8.7 percent this year as central banks took steps to support growth globally and China’s economy showed signs of stabilization. The gauge trades at 13.9 times estimated earnings, compared with multiples of 16.2 for the S&P 500 and 14.9 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Asia-Pacific benchmark fell 1.8 percent last week.
Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda helped drive a 46 percent surge in Japan’s Topix this year with unprecedented monetary easing as he and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sought to jolt the nation out of 15 years of deflation. The Topix is the best performing of 24 developed-market indexes tracked by Bloomberg.
China’s trade surplus widened to $33.8 billion in November, the biggest since January 2009, data from the General Administration of Customs showed yesterday in Beijing. Outbound shipments rose 12.7 percent from a year earlier, topping projections from 41 of 42 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News, while import gains of 5.3 percent compared with a median projection of 7 percent.
Inflation in Asia’s biggest economy slowed more than estimated in November, government data showed today.
Asian companies that do business in the U.S. and China rose. Techtronics gained 1.2 percent to HK$20.40 in Hong Kong. Nikon Corp., a Japanese camera maker that gets 27 percent of sales in North America, advanced 1.6 percent to 1,983 yen.
Japanese gross domestic product increased 1.1 percent in the third quarter, less than the 1.6 percent forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg, according to a final reading from the Cabinet Office in Tokyo today.
Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc. rose 2.2 percent to 508 yen in Tokyo after SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. analysts upgraded their recommendation on the shares to outperform from neutral.
Haier Electronics Group Co. surged 13 percent to HK$21.05 in Hong Kong after Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. agreed to buy shares in Haier and its logistics business, as China’s biggest e-commerce company builds its distribution in the world’s most populous country.
Among shares that declined, QBE sank 22 percent to A$12, the biggest drop since September 2001. The insurer forecast a $250 million loss for the year to Dec. 31. That compares with the average estimate of a $1.07 billion profit for this year from 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, and a $761 million profit recorded for the previous 12-month period.
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