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Asian Stocks Advance on U.S. Housing, South Korea Data

Asian Stocks Advance on U.S. Housing, South Korea Output Data
A pedestrian walks past an electronic stock board outside a securities firm in Tokyo. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index heading for its first advance in four days and paring its loss for the month, after U.S. home prices increased and South Korea’s industrial production expanded.

Canon Inc., a Japanese camera maker that gets 27 percent of its sales in the Americas, gained 1.5 percent. Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. surged 6.7 percent after the maker of Subaru cars raised its profit forecast. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. paced gains among mainland lenders listed in Hong Kong after earnings at the world’s largest bank by market value beat analyst estimates.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.8 percent to 122.1 as of 7:52 p.m. in Tokyo. The benchmark fell 1.1 percent this month through yesterday as more than half the gauge’s companies that have reported earnings missed profit estimates. That pared to 11 percent an advance from this year’s low on June 4 as global central banks added stimulus to safeguard economic recoveries.

“The underlying economic data is improving and supportive of future earnings as long as nothing else goes wrong,” said Angus Gluskie, managing director at Sydney-based White Funds Management, which oversees more than $350 million.

Gauges tracking resources companies and makers of cars and electronics led gains today on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index, with about two shares advancing for each that fell. Stocks on the measure traded yesterday at an average of 12.9 times estimated earnings, compared with 13.5 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12.1 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

Futures on the S&P 500 added 0.7 percent in New York. Equity markets in the U.S. are scheduled to reopen today after Hurricane Sandy caused a two-day closure, the longest weather-related shutdown in more than a century.

BOJ Stimulus

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 1 percent after the Bank of Japan yesterday announced its first back-to-back monthly stimulus expansion since 2003. Along with adding 11 trillion yen ($138 billion) to its asset-purchase program, the bank said it will offer unlimited low-interest rate loans to lenders.

South Korea’s Kospi added 0.7 percent after the country’s industrial output rose 0.8 percent last month from August when it dropped a revised 0.9 percent, Statistics Korea said today. The median estimate of 11 economists in a Bloomberg News survey was for a 1.5 percent rise.

Australia’s S&P/ASX Index advanced 0.7 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 1 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite added 0.3 percent.

Exporters advanced on signs U.S. housing will boost growth in the world’s largest economy. Canon climbed 1.5 percent to 2,578 yen. Li & Fung Ltd., a supplier of clothes and toys to Wal-Mart Stores Inc., advanced 0.9 percent to HK$13.00.

Housing Recovery

The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 U.S. cities rose 2 percent from August 2011, the biggest year-to-year gain since July 2010, the group said yesterday in New York. Prices rose 1.2 percent the prior month, it said.

Fuji Heavy gained 6.7 percent to 767 yen, the highest in 11 years. The company increased its annual profit forecast 40 percent on better-than-expected sales in the U.S., where it gets almost half its sales.

ICBC rose 2 percent to HK$5.13 after reporting third-quarter net income of 62.4 billion yuan ($10 billion) that topped analysts’ estimates. The bank may earn a record 226.1 billion yuan this year, according to the average of 32 analyst projections in a Bloomberg survey, compared with 208.3 billion yuan in 2011.

Banking Stocks

China Construction Bank Corp., the nation’s second-largest lender by assets, gained 2.3 percent to HK$5.84, while Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. advanced 1.5 percent to HK$3.36. The combined profit at China’s four largest banks is almost triple that of the top four U.S. lenders, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Komatsu Ltd. surged 3.2 percent to 1,672 yen in Tokyo. The world’s second-largest maker of construction and mining equipment reported a 66.1 billion yen profit in the six months through September, beating its 64 billion yen forecast. Second-half sales in China may increase by 10 billion yen compared with the previous six months, Chief Financial Officer Mikio Fujitsuka said.

Among shares that declined, PetroChina Co. was the biggest drag on the Asian gauge. The world’s largest publicly traded oil producer lost 2 percent to HK$10.58. The company posted its lowest third-quarter profit in at least five years because of refining losses and natural-gas import costs.

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