Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index gaining for the first time in three days, after U.S. manufacturing unexpectedly expanded and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke renewed a pledge to sustain record stimulus, boosting the outlook for exporters.
Samsung Electronics Co., South Korea’s biggest exporter of consumer electronics, increased 1.7 percent. Nexon Co. jumped 6 percent in Tokyo after the maker of online games agreed to buy mobile game developer Gloops Inc. for 36.5 billion yen ($468 million). EVA Airways Corp. climbed 3.2 percent, pacing gains among Taiwanese airlines and travel agencies, after Premier Sean Chen said the U.S. is expected to announce a visa waiver for the island’s residents.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.1 percent to 122.08 as of 6:02 p.m. in Tokyo, with four shares rising for every three that fell. Markets in China, Hong Kong and India are closed for holidays. The regional index gained 4 percent in September amid speculation China will add to stimulus measures, following moves by central banks in the U.S. and Japan. Australia cut its benchmark interest rate today.
“Considering that manufacturing has been the one bright spot in the U.S. since the recovery began, it’s a bit of a relief,” said Prasad Patkar, portfolio manager who helps manage about $1 billion at Platypus Asset Management Ltd. in Sydney. “Recovery in the U.S. labor market is still very weak, which is why the Fed is so dovish. They will keep hitting it with all their might. Whether it proves effective or not is something only time will tell.”
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 1 percent. The Reserve Bank of Australia cut its benchmark interest rate to the lowest level since 2009 amid a deepening global slowdown. Governor Glenn Stevens and his board lowered the overnight cash-rate target by a quarter point to 3.25 percent in Sydney today. The decision to end a three-month pause was predicted by nine of 28 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.
Singapore’s Straits Times Index and Taiwan’s Taiex Index advanced 0.6 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index climbed 1.1 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average lost 0.1 percent and South Korea’s Kospi Index was little changed.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.4 percent today. The index climbed 0.3 percent in New York yesterday as the Institute for Supply Management’s factory index unexpectedly increased after three months of contraction. reflecting stronger orders that ease concern the U.S. economy will slow further.
Bernanke yesterday defended the Fed’s unprecedented bond buying, saying it will spur growth, cut unemployment, help savers and support the dollar.
Exporters advanced. Samsung Electronics rose 1.7 percent to 1.369 million won in Seoul. Sony Corp., the maker of Bravia televisions and PlayStation game consoles, added 1.2 percent to 928 yen in Tokyo. Canon Inc., the world’s biggest camera maker, gained 2.4 percent to 2,604 yen.
Nintendo Co., the world’s biggest game console maker, increased 4.3 percent to 10,450 yen in Osaka. Pre-order options for Nintendo’s Wii U game players from retailers like Best Buy Co., GameStop Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. have sold out ahead of its Nov. 18 release, Forbes reported on Sept. 30.
Nexon climbed 6 percent to 1,099 yen. The Tokyo-based maker of online game “Dungeon & Fighter” said the acquisition of Gloops, which developed games for DeNA Co.’s social gaming platform Mobage, will significantly accelerate its mobile presence.
Softbank Corp. gained 2.9 percent to 3,195 yen. Japan’s third-largest mobile phone company said it will pay 180 billion yen ($2.3 billion) for rival eAccess to boost bandwidth speed and capacity after it started selling Apple Inc.’s iPhone 5.
Taiwanese airlines and travel agents gained in Taipei on speculation revenue will increase once visa requirements to the U.S. are waived. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may make an announcement today allowing Taiwanese to travel visa-free to the U.S., the Taipei-based Central News Agency reported today, citing unidentified diplomatic sources.
China Airlines Ltd., Taiwan’s biggest carrier, rose 2.9 percent to NT$12.45. EVA Airways, the second-largest, climbed 3.2 percent to NT$17.70. Phoenix Tours International Inc. jumped 6.9 percent to NT$64.90.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 7.1 percent this year through yesterday as policy makers boosted stimulus measures to counter a global economic slowdown and quell Europe’s debt crisis. Stocks in the Asian benchmark were valued at 12.8 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 14 times for the S&P 500 and 12 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.
Among stocks that declined, Alps Electric Co. slumped 12 percent to 352 yen in Tokyo, the lowest since March 2009. The maker of audio systems and electronics equipment used in cars and its unit Alpine Electronics Inc cut earnings estimates.