Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index paring its biggest slump in three months, after U.S. retail sales topped estimates and the World Bank raised its global growth forecast.
Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), a Japanese carmaker that gets 31 percent of its revenue in North America, added 1.5 percent. OZ Minerals Ltd. jumped 14 percent as Australia’s third-largest copper producer may see earnings rise, according to Morningstar Inc. Anhui Conch Cement Co., China’s biggest maker of the building material, soared 5.9 percent in Hong Kong after saying it expects 2013 profit to surge about 50 percent.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 0.6 percent to 139.44 at 8:33 p.m. in Tokyo after falling 1.5 percent yesterday, the most since Sept. 30. Nine of the 10 industry groups on the gauge rose, with about three shares gaining for every one that retreated.
“We expect stronger global GDP growth,” Stephen Corry, Hong Kong-based chief investment strategist at LGT Group, a private banking and asset-management firm that oversees about $115 billion, said by phone. “The outlook for equities is pretty rosy and profits still have the potential to go higher.”
The World Bank sees the world economy expanding 3.2 percent this year, compared with a June projection of 3 percent and up from 2.4 percent in 2013. The forecast for the richest nations was raised to 2.2 percent from 2 percent. Part of the increase reflects improvement in the 18-country euro area, with the U.S. ahead of developed peers, growing twice as fast as Japan.
Japan’s Topix (TPX) index jumped 2 percent, the most since Sept. 9, after the yen slipped 1.2 percent against the dollar yesterday. A weaker yen boosts the value of overseas earnings at Japanese companies. South Korea’s Kospi index advanced 0.4 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.6 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index climbed 1 percent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index (HSI) gained 0.5 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.2 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index added 0.6 percent and Taiwan’s Taiex index rose 0.6 percent.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.2 percent today. The measure gained 1.1 percent yesterday, the most since Dec. 18. U.S. retail sales increased 0.2 percent last month after a 0.4 percent advance in November that was smaller than previously reported, Commerce Department figures showed yesterday in Washington. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 0.1 percent gain. Excluding cars, demand jumped by the most in almost a year.
Investors are watching economic data for signals on the pace of Federal Reserve stimulus cuts. Three rounds of monetary stimulus from the central bank have helped push the S&P 500 higher by 172 percent from a 12-year low in 2009. The Fed, which next meets Jan. 28-29, last month announced a reduction in its monthly bond-buying program, citing a recovery in the labor market.
Fed board members Charles Plosser and Richard Fisher yesterday called for an end to bond buying. The central bank is scheduled to release its Beige Book business survey today.
“Even though the Fed will probably continue tapering, it will be largely offset by the fairly robust U.S. economy,” Shane Oliver, Sydney-based head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors Ltd., which oversees $131 billion, said by phone. “That will see share markets bounce back again today.”
Companies that do business in the U.S. rose. Toyota gained 1.5 percent to 6,235 yen. Man Wah Holdings Ltd., a sofa maker that gets half its sales from the U.S., gained 2.1 percent to HK$13.70.
OZ Minerals soared 14 percent to A$3.50 as it may see earnings rise as it cuts production costs by mining less waste material and curbs exploration, according to Morningstar. Cash costs fell to $1.34 a pound in the three months to Dec. 31, from $2.06 a pound in the previous quarter, the Melbourne-based producer said today in a statement.
Anhui Conch Cement climbed 5.9 percent to HK$28.90 after saying it expects profit to rise on increasing sales, rising product prices and lower costs. China Resources Cement Holdings Ltd. jumped 6.1 percent to HK$5.43.
Hitachi Ltd., whose products range from nuclear-power systems to kitchen appliances, rose 4.1 percent to 867 yen in Tokyo, its highest price since July 2007, after Nomura Holdings Inc. said the company may report record third-quarter profit. Hitachi is due to report earnings on Feb. 4.
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