Asian Stocks Follow U.S. Rebound as Earnings Boost Japan

Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

Pedestrians walk in front of an electronic stock board outside a securities firm in Tokyo on Feb. 4, 2014. Close

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Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

Pedestrians walk in front of an electronic stock board outside a securities firm in Tokyo on Feb. 4, 2014.

Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index rebounding from its biggest slump since June, after U.S. shares advanced and Japanese companies posted earnings that cheered investors.

Panasonic Corp. surged 19 percent, its largest gain in almost 40 years of trading, after Japan’s biggest consumer-electronics maker posted third-quarter profit that beat analyst estimates. Hyundai Development Co-Engineering & Construction gained 8.2 percent in Seoul after the homebuilder’s rating was raised at KTB Securities Co. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. sank 4.3 percent as markets reopened in Taipei after the Lunar New Year holiday.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.8 percent to 131.16 as of 11:15 p.m. in Tokyo, after plunging the most since June 20 yesterday. U.S. equities rebounded as 21 of 24 emerging-market currencies advanced against the dollar and data showed factory orders fell less than estimated in December.

“The market is breathing a sigh of relief,” said Masaaki Yamaguchi, equity market strategist at Nomura Holdings Inc., Japan’s biggest brokerage by market value. “Confidence is coming back after emerging-nation currencies stabilized and U.S. data weren’t as bad as expected. The U.S. rebound gave a good reason for the market to rise after slumping.”

The MSCI Asia-Pacific gauge plunged 4.6 percent in January for its worst start to a year since 2009 as the Federal Reserve pressed ahead with cutting stimulus even amid concern over China’s economic slowdown and volatility in developing markets.

Regional Gauges

Japan’s Topix (TPX) index climbed 2.1 percent today after capping a 13 percent drop from a Jan. 8 high yesterday and entering a correction. The smaller Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 1.2 percent after plummeting 4.2 percent yesterday. The yen strengthened 0.4 percent against the dollar today after falling 0.7 percent yesterday.

South Korea’s Kospi index rose 0.2 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 0.5 percent, while New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index added 0.1 percent. Markets in mainland China and Vietnam were closed for holidays.

The Hang Seng Index dropped 0.6 percent after capping an 11 percent slump yesterday from its December peak. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland shares traded in Hong Kong lost 0.4 percent. Taiwan’s Taiex Index lost 2.3 percent in the first day of trading since Jan. 27 with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing falling 4.3 percent to NT$100.50. Singapore’s Straits Times Index fell 0.2 percent.

Outside Japan

The MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index fell 0.3 percent to 435.08 as technology and health-care companies led declines.

“There are not a lot of incentives for people to jump in,” Andrew Sullivan, a Hong Kong-based director of sales trading at Kim Eng Securities, said by phone. “China is still on holiday and news flow is still quite light. There are a lot of macroeconomic issues out there that are overhanging the market.”

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.8 percent. The measure gained 0.8 percent yesterday, rebounding from a three-month low as investors assessed corporate earnings. Data from the Census Bureau yesterday showed factory orders slipped 1.5 percent in December, compared with the average economist estimate of a 1.8 percent decline in a Bloomberg survey.

Earnings Analysis

Of the 236 companies on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index that have reported quarterly earnings since the beginning of January and for which estimates are available, 53 percent beat analyst estimates for profit, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Panasonic soared 19 percent to 1,262 yen after the company said net income rose 20 percent to 73.7 billion yen ($728 million), compared with the 44 billion-yen average estimate of three analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.

Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s largest carmaker, jumped 6 percent to 5,830 yen in Tokyo. Toyota yesterday reported profit quintupled last quarter and raised its forecast for the fiscal year ending March 31 to an unprecedented 1.9 trillion yen.

Sony Corp. soared 4.6 percent to 1,600 yen after a person familiar with the matter said the company is in talks to sell its Japanese personal-computer business to buyout firm Japan Industrial Partners Inc.

Hyundai Development gained 8.2 percent to 25,600 won after the homebuilder’s rating was raised to buy from hold at KTB Securities with a 12-month target price of 29,000 won.

The Asia-Pacific gauge traded at 12.3 times estimated earnings, compared with 14.9 for the S&P 500 and 13.5 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Yoshiaki Nohara in Tokyo at ynohara1@bloomberg.net

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

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