Asian stocks gained, with the regional benchmark index heading for its first advance in five days, as exporters climbed amid signs of improvement in China’s factory output and the U.S. housing market.
James Hardie Industries SE, a building materials supplier that counts the U.S. as its biggest market, rose 1.1 percent in Sydney. Huaneng Power International Inc., a Chinese electricity producer, gained 2.3 percent in Hong Kong. Hyundai Motor Co. jumped 3.9 percent after South Korea’s largest carmaker posted profit that exceeded analyst estimates.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.5 percent to 122.73 as of 7:51 p.m. in Tokyo, with about three shares rising for every two that fell. The gauge advanced 12 percent from this year’s low on June 4 through yesterday as stimulus measures in the U.S., Japan and China boosted sentiment amid a global economic slowdown and Europe’s debt crisis.
“The economy is recovering in the U.S., allowing investors to have a certain amount of confidence,” said Mitsushige Akino, who helps oversees about $626 million in assets at Ichiyoshi Investment Management Co. in Tokyo. “To a certain extent, weaker corporate earnings have already been priced in, so earnings shouldn’t drive down the overall market any further, but individual shares will react.”
The Nikkei 225 Stock Average advanced 1.1 percent as the yen touched a four-month low againstr the dollar. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.1 percent. South Korea’s Kospi Index rose 0.6 percent.
Hong Kong Rally
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index increased 0.2 percent, extending its advance for a 10th day, the longest winning streak since February 2006. Stocks in the city rallied on speculation China’s economy will rebound as central banks hold down interest rates. China’s Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.7 percent, erasing gains of 0.6 percent earlier.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 0.5 percent today. The gauge lost 0.3 percent yesterday in New York as the Federal Reserve said the U.S. economy is still growing modestly, offsetting earlier stock gains after a report showed new homes purchases in the U.S. rose to the highest level in more than two years.
Exporters advanced. James Hardie rose 1.1 percent to A$9.25. Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s top mobile-phone maker, climbed 1.7 percent to 1.322 million won in Seoul. Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s biggest carmaker, gained 1.3 percent to 3,135 yen after earlier falling as much as 0.5 percent. Samsung and Toyota are the heaviest- and second-heaviest-weighted stocks in the Asia-Pacific gauge.
Japanese automakers advanced as the yen dropped to its lowest level versus the U.S. dollar in four months as investors speculated that the Bank of Japan will expand monetary stimulus next week. A weaker yen boost the overseas earnings of Japanese companies when repatriated.
Chinese electricity producers advanced. The nation’s industrial output will rise in the fourth quarter, Zhu Hongren, chief engineering at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said in Beijing today. A private survey from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics yesterday showed factory output in the world’s second-largest economy may contract at a slower pace this month.
Huaneng Power gained 2.3 percent to HK$6.15 in Hong Kong. China Resources Power Holdings Co. climbed 2.7 percent to HK$16.74.
KDDI Corp. jumped 5.5 percent to 6,370 yen in Tokyo after Japan’s No. 2 mobile-phone company and Sumitomo Corp. offered as much as 216 billion yen ($2.7 billion) for the remaining shares of their cable television joint venture, Jupiter Telecommunications Co. Jupiter fell 2.2 percent in Osaka.
The Asian benchmark traded at 13 times estimated earnings yesterday, compared with 13.5 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.
Hyundai rose 3.9 percent 226,500 won in Seoul after saying third-quarter net income rose 13 percent from a year earlier to 2.17 trillion won ($2 billion). That beat the 2.05 trillion won average of 27 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales rose 3.6 percent, in line with estimates.
Among stocks that dropped, Sharp Corp. sank 4.2 percent to 160 yen in Tokyo after the Nikkei newspaper reported that the maker of Aquos televisions may report a first-half loss of 400 billion yen.
Of the 102 companies on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index that posted quarterly earnings since Oct. 1, 60 percent missed analyst estimates, while 40 percent surpassed expectations, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News.