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Asian Stocks Advance as Won Climbs, Aussie Drops

Asian Stocks Rise on Korean Manufacturers’ Confidence; Won Gains
Dealers work in front of monitors displaying the Korea Composite Stock Price Index and the exchange rate between the South Korean won and the U.S. dollar at the Korea Exchange Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

Asian stocks climbed for a fifth day, the best winning streak in three months, and South Korea’s won gained as companies reported better-than-estimated earnings. European equity futures climbed after German retail sales rose.

The MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index added 1 percent as of 2:15 p.m. in Hong Kong, where the Hang Seng Index advanced 1.6 percent. Euro Stoxx 50 Index futures climbed 0.8 percent while Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures gained 0.3 percent. South Korea’s won appreciated 0.4 percent against the dollar after a pickup in manufacturers’ confidence. Australia’s dollar weakened before a forecast interest-rate cut. Copper advanced.

Bank of Communications and Samsung Heavy Industries Co. rallied after reporting earnings that exceeded analyst forecasts. Data today may show U.S. consumer spending rose for a ninth month and Spain’s economy contracted for a second quarter, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Retail sales in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, increased 0.8 percent in March following a 0.9 percent slide the previous month, according to figures released today.

“We’re quite optimistic about Asia,” said Adrian Zuercher, who helps oversee $150 billion in asset allocation strategies at Credit Suisse Asset Management in Hong Kong. “It’s clear that China and the rest of Asia will be generating a higher growth rate compared to the rest of the world.”

All 10 industry groups in MSCI’s Asian index advanced and more than twice as many shares rose as fell. Financial markets in Japan and China are closed for holidays.

Earnings Season

Bank of Communications rose 4.2 percent in Hong Kong after China’s fifth-biggest lender reported a first-quarter profit of 15.9 billion yuan ($2.5 billion) on April 27, beating the 15.3 billion yuan median estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Samsung Heavy Industries, which makes oil tankers and container ships, jumped 5.8 percent in Seoul after announcing net income of 252.7 billion won ($223 million). Analysts forecast 162.2 billion won, a Bloomberg survey showed.

Quarterly earnings-per-share have risen 6.7 percent for the 271 companies in the S&P 500 that reported since April 10, with per-share results beating analyst estimates by 7.1 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Before the start of the earnings season, analysts forecast growth of 0.8 percent.

Adidas AG shares may be active today after the German sporting-goods maker raised its 2012 profit forecast and reported better-than-expected net income for the first quarter.

Rising Confidence

Manufacturers in South Korea are the most upbeat in nine months and business confidence is climbing in New Zealand, where home-building approvals rose to the highest in almost two years, according to reports released today.

U.S. consumer spending probably rose 0.3 percent in March, according to the median estimate of economists in surveyed by Bloomberg before data today. Spain’s gross domestic product fell 0.4 percent in the first quarter from the fourth, when it declined 0.3 percent, a separate survey showed.

The Reserve Bank of Australia will lower its overnight cash rate target by 25 basis points, or 0.25 percentage point, to 4 percent, according to 26 of 27 forecasters in a Bloomberg survey. One economist predicted a 50-basis-point reduction.

Australia’s currency weakened 0.2 percent to $1.0455, while the S&P/ASX 200 Index of the nation’s shares rose 0.8 percent to a nine-month high. Bond risk fell to a three-week low, based on the Markit iTraxx Australia index of credit-default swaps.

Copper, Corn

Copper for three-month delivery rose to $8,462 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, headed for the highest close since April 4. Crude for June delivery was little changed at $104.94 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Corn for July delivery rose as much as 0.7 percent to $6.30 a bushel, the most expensive level for the most-active contract in two weeks. The U.S. government announced the biggest one-day corn sale since December 1994 on April 27 as rising meat demand in China fuels imports of crops used as livestock feed.

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