Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index headed for the biggest gain in almost three weeks, as exporters advanced after the U.S. reported better-than-expected retail sales.
Samsung Electronics Co., which gets a fifth of its sales in the Americas, rose 2.3 percent in Seoul. Mizuho Financial Group Inc., Japan’s third-largest bank by market value, gained 1.6 percent, pacing gains among lenders after Citigroup Inc.’s profit beat estimates. Softbank Corp. jumped 9.6 percent after Japan’s third-largest mobile-phone company agreed to acquire 70 percent of Sprint Nextel Corp. for $20.1 billion.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.8 percent to 121.74 as of 5:11 p.m. in Tokyo, the biggest advance since Sept. 27. More than two stocks rose for each that fell in the gauge, with all of the index’s 10 industry groups climbed.
“It does feel like there’s some momentum there in the economy,” said Matt Riordan, a portfolio manager who helps manage about $6.5 billion in Sydney at Paradice Investment Management Pty. “We’ve got a reasonable rebound. But the problem is whether we will start seeing a recovery, particularly out of China.”
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rebounded 11 percent from this year’s low on June 4 through yesterday as stimulus measures in Europe, the U.S., Japan and China boosted market sentiment amid a global economic slowdown and Europe’s debt crisis. The Asian benchmark traded at 12.8 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.7 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 1.4 percent and South Korea’s Kospi Index added 0.8 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.2 percent after minutes of the central bank’s Oct. 2 meeting showed policy makers saw scope for cutting borrowing costs. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.6 percent in Wellington even as the nation’s consumer prices slowed to the weakest pace in more than 12 years.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.3 percent and the Shanghai Composite Index was little changed. Taiwan’s Taiex Index added 0.7 percent.
Futures on the S&P 500 advanced 0.1 percent today. The gauge added 0.8 percent yesterday after Commerce Department data showed retail sales advanced 1.1 percent last month, beating the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg for a 0.8 percent increase.
Exporters to the U.S. rose. Samsung added 2.3 percent to 1.33 million won. James Hardie Industries SE, an Australian building-materials supplier that gets about 67 percent of its sales from the U.S., advanced 0.8 percent to A$9.11. Li & Fung Ltd., a maker of toys and clothes to Wal-Mart Stores Inc., increased 0.7 percent to HK$12.06 in Hong Kong.
Asian banks followed gains among U.S. banks after Citigroup unexpectedly reported a third-quarter profit and a surge in bond-trading revenue. Financial shares accounted for 24 percent of the advance in the MSCI Asia Pacific Index today.
Mizuho Financial, Japan’s third-largest bank by market value, gained 1.6 percent to 124 yen. Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the nation’s biggest lender by market value, rose 0.3 percent to A$57.09.
Softbank surged 9.6 percent to 2,485 yen in Tokyo, gaining for the first time in nine trading days after announcing a deal to buy Spring Nextel for $20.1 billion. The acquisition will be funded by cash on hand and bridge financing, and Softbank won’t issue new shares, President Masayoshi Son said yesterday. The stock was the biggest gainer on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index.
Among shares that fell, Shimano Inc. dropped 3.5 percent to 5,200 yen. The Japanese maker of bicycle parts and fishing gear fell after its rating was cut to neutral from outperform at Daiwa Securities Group Inc.
Kirin Holdings Co. slid 2.4 percent to 1,009 yen in Tokyo after the Japanese brewer slashed its 2015 sales forecast and lowered its outlook for its Australian subsidiary.
Of the 14 companies on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index that have posted quarterly results since Oct. 1 and for which Bloomberg has estimates, eight missed analysts’ expectations while six exceeded them, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News.