Asian Stocks Rise as Profit Reports Bolster Investor Confidence

Asian Stocks Rise on U.S. Profit Reports
Almost four stocks rose for each one that declined in the MSCI Asia Pacific Index, which rose 0.2 percent to 129.93 as of 9:55 a.m. in Tokyo. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Asian stocks rose, snapping the MSCI Asia Pacific Index’s longest losing streak since May, as corporate earnings and a drop in U.S. jobless claims boosted confidence in a global economic recovery.

LG Display Co. gained 4.6 percent in Seoul and India’s Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. jumped 5.5 percent on better-than-estimated profit. Brambles Ltd., the world’s biggest supplier of wooden transport pallets, advanced 3.1 percent in Sydney amid speculation U.S.-related earnings will increase. Canon Inc., a Japanese camera maker that gets 28 percent of its sales in the Americas, climbed 1.6 percent.

“With the economic data being quite mixed, corporate earnings are going to be a key focal point,” said Chris Hall, who helps oversee the equivalent of $3.3 billion at Argo Investments in Adelaide, Australia. “People are looking for outlook comments that reaffirm the view that hopefully the recovery is under way. There’s obviously still a lot of caution over that.”

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.2 percent to 129.98 as of 7:53 p.m. in Tokyo as Group of 20 finance ministers began a two-day meeting in South Korea that will focus on global economic issues. About two stocks rose for each one that fell in the MSCI gauge, which has lost 0.8 percent in the past five days.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average advanced 0.5 percent and South Korea’s Kospi Index gained 1.2 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.6 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index climbed 0.8 percent.

Jobless Claims

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed. The index advanced 0.2 percent yesterday as earnings at EBay Inc. and McDonald’s Corp. beat analysts’ targets. Initial jobless claims fell by 23,000 last week, Labor Department figures showed.

After the close of regular trading, American Express Co., the biggest credit-card issuer by purchases, said third-quarter profit jumped 70 percent. Earnings at companies from American Express to EBay have taken the percentage of companies in the MSCI World Index that have reported better-than-estimated profit in the past month to 72 percent.

“The improvement in company earnings is reducing the number of U.S. jobless claims,” said Juichi Wako, a senior strategist at Tokyo-based Nomura Holdings Inc. “Investors don’t expect jobless claims to recover, but at least they don’t have to worry about a deterioration.”

Technology Share Gain

LG Display, the world’s second-largest maker of liquid-crystal displays, advanced 4.6 percent to 41,250 won in Seoul, leading Asia’s technology stocks higher. The company reported third-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates.

Technology stocks advanced the most of the MSCI Asia Pacific Index’s 10 industry groups. Asustek Computer Inc., which makes low-cost computers, jumped 6.7 percent to NT$230.50 in Taipei. Hynix Semiconductor Inc., the world’s second-largest computer-memory chipmaker, gained 1.9 percent to 24,200 won.

Tata Consultancy, India’s largest software exporter, jumped 5.5 percent to 1,040 rupees. Second-quarter profit beat analysts’ predictions as sales from North America set a quarterly record of $1 billion.

In Sydney, Brambles, which gets almost half of its revenue from the Americas, climbed 3.1 percent to A$6.59. Canon advanced 1.6 percent to 3,785 yen in Tokyo. In Seoul, Samsung Electronics Co., Asia’s No. 1 maker of semiconductors, increased 1.6 percent to 777,000 won.

Leading Indicators

A gauge of the U.S. economy’s prospects rose in September for a third month, signaling the recovery will extend into 2011. The Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators, which was released yesterday, climbed 0.3 percent, matching the median forecast of 57 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

Stocks gained as G-20 officials started their meeting in Gyeongju, South Korea. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner told his G-20 counterparts in a letter they should commit to policies that reduce external imbalances below a specific share of gross domestic product.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index has surged 20 percent from its 2010 low on May 25 on speculation growth in profits will weather Europe’s debt crisis, Chinese steps to curb property-price inflation and a faltering U.S. economy. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 14.3 times estimated earnings, compared with 14.1 times at the year’s low.

Among other stocks that rose today, Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea’s largest automaker, gained 3.4 percent to 168,000 won in Seoul. The company plans to form a 500 billion won ($444 million) venture with Ziyang Nanjun Automobile Co. in China next year to expand its market share in the world’s biggest auto market.

ASX Ltd., Australia’s main stock-exchange operator, gained 2.5 percent to A$34.96 before trading of its shares were halted in Sydney ahead of a “possible business combination,” a regulatory filing said.

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