Asian Stocks Advance Before Bernanke Speech, U.S. Data

Most Asian Stocks Rise Ahead of U.S. GDP Data, Bernanke Speech
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.1 percent to 119.36 as of 9:41 a.m. in Tokyo, with about two shares rising for each that fell. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index heading for its first advance in four days, as investors await a report on U.S. economic growth and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s speech on monetary policy this week.

Renesas Electronics Corp. surged 35 percent in Tokyo after the Nikkei newspaper reported that Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. will shares of the chipmaker. Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s biggest mobile-phone maker, climbed 2.9 percent after a court hearing for a permanent ban on U.S. sales of its mobile devices was scheduled. Daikin Industries Ltd. slid 3.5 percent on a report the Japanese air-conditioner maker will buy Houston-based Goodman Global Inc.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.1 percent to 119.39 as of 7:37 p.m. in Tokyo, with almost five shares rising for every four that fell. U.S. reports yesterday showed home prices increased for the first time since 2010, while consumer confidence fell. The Federal Reserve signaled last week it’s ready to take more steps to spur the economy and Bernanke may comment on the likelihood of further measures in an Aug. 31 speech at a meeting of central bankers in Wyoming.

“Bernanke’s probably going to hold fire here, while sending an encouraging message,” said Angus Gluskie, managing director at White Funds Management in Sydney who manages more than $350 million. “Realistically we’re probably going to see him say what he’s said over the last couple of months, which is simply that they will act, but only if conditions continue to deteriorate. That’s probably neutral for the market.”

Nikkei, Kospi

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average added 0.4 percent. South Korea’s Kospi Index gained 0.6 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index both fell 0.1 percent. China’s Shanghai Composite Index slipped 1 percent.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 0.1 percent today. The underlying gauge slid 0.1 percent yesterday.

Pacific Investment Management Co. Chief Executive Officer Mohamed El-Erian is among money managers speculating Bernanke probably won’t provide specific plans for further monetary action this week. El-Erian spoke yesterday on Bloomberg Television’s “In the Loop” with Betty Liu.

Spending by U.S. consumers is expected to have climbed in July by the most in five months, easing concern the biggest part of the economy is backsliding, economists said before a report tomorrow. Revised second-quarter gross domestic product to be released today by the Commerce Department may show the world’s biggest economy grew faster than initially estimated.

Tech Stocks

Information technology companies posted the biggest advance among the 10 industry groups in the MSCI Asia Pacific Index.

Renesas jumped by a record 35 percent to 308 yen in Tokyo. New York-based KKR will spend 100 billion yen ($1.3 billion) to take a controlling stake in the unprofitable chipmaker by the end of the year, the Nikkei reported, without saying where it got the information. Renesas said it was not the source of the report.

NEC Corp., a maker of telecommunications equipment and a major shareholder in Renesas, advanced 6.5 percent to 114 yen. Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. plans to buy patents from the Japanese company, Simon Hsing, a spokesman for the Taipei-based maker of Apple Inc.’s iPad, said by phone today, confirming comments made by Hon Hai Chairman Terry Gou in Tokyo yesterday.

Samsung Electronics advanced 2.9 percent to 1.23 million won in Seoul. Apple’s request for a permanent ban on U.S. sales of some of the South Korean company’s devices was set for a Dec. 6 hearing, according to a court filing. The later date for the hearing is positive for Samsung, Brian Park, a Seoul-based analyst at Tong Yang Securities Inc., said by phone today

LG Smartphone

LG Electronics Inc. climbed 4.4 percent to 71,600 won in Seoul. The world’s fourth-largest mobile-phone maker’s latest Android smartphone Optimus G will help boost fourth-quarter sales, Kwon Sung Ryul, an analyst at Dongbu Securities Co., wrote in a report today.

Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. advanced 3.4 percent to HK$22.65 in Hong Kong. Permira Advisers LLP will sell 278.8 million shares, cutting its stake in Galaxy to 5.95 percent, according to the Macau casino operator. This is a positive development because concerns that the buyout firm could sell more shares had been an “overhang” on the stock, said Gary Pinge, an analyst at Macquarie Securities Ltd.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 7.5 percent from this year’s high on Feb. 29 through yesterday. Stocks on Asia’s benchmark index were valued at 12.4 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.7 for the S&P 500 and 11.6 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Daikin, Evergrande

Among stocks that fell, Daikin slipped 3.5 percent to 2,073 yen. The Japanese air-conditioner maker will buy Goodman Global for 300 billion yen, the Nikkei newspaper reported.

Evergrande Real Estate Group Ltd. dropped 3.1 percent to HK$3.09 in Hong Kong. China’s biggest developer by sales volume said first-half underlying profit fell 21 percent from a year earlier to 3.8 billion yuan ($598 million) as it sold fewer apartments as the government maintained property curbs.

Of the 439 companies in the Asia-Pacific index that have reported quarterly earnings since July 1, and for which Bloomberg has estimates, more than half failed to meet projections, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Air China Ltd. declined 2.9 percent to HK$4.70 in Hong Kong after the nation’s largest international carrier reported first-half profit slumped 77 percent from a year earlier to 944.5 million yuan as travel demand slowed and fuel costs increased.

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