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Asian Stocks Rise 2nd Day, Led by Utilities; Tepco Surges

Asian Shares Rise on U.S. Retail Sales as Gold, Yen Advance
A pedestrian walks past an electronic stock board displaying the closing figure of the Nikkei 225 Stock Average, top, in Tokyo. Photographer: Junko Kimura/Bloomberg

Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index heading for a second day of gains, as advancing Japanese utilities countered a slide in Chinese stocks.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. jumped 18 percent after Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the nation’s No. 1 utility shouldn’t take full blame for the Fukushima meltdowns, according to a Yomiuri newspaper report. Kajima Corp. jumped 8.8 percent in Tokyo after the construction company forecast a rise in operating profit. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. slipped 1.3 percent after the nation’s growth outlook was cut at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.2 percent to 142.59 as of 6:21 p.m. in Tokyo, with nine of the 10 industry groups on the measure advancing. The gauge increased 10 percent this year through yesterday as the Bank of Japan takes steps to counter deflation and policy makers in the U.S. and Europe remain on standby to buoy growth.

“The rally, particularly in Japan, may continue as earnings recover,” Daphne Roth, Singapore-based head of Asia equity research at ABN Amro Private Bank, which oversees about $207 billion, said by phone. “I don’t think there’s overheating in the market. Central banks are still pursuing quantitative easing and that’s going to support further gains.”

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index rose 0.7 percent to a record close. President Benigno Aquino appeared poised to win control of the 24-member Senate in legislative elections. A victory would bolster plans to tackle corruption.

China Slowdown

South Korea’s Kospi Index climbed 1 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.2 percent, and Singapore’s Straits Times Index increased 0.1 percent. India’s S&P BSE Sensex gained 0.2 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index lost 0.3 percent.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index dropped 1.1 percent. JPMorgan cut its growth outlook for the world’s second-largest economy, citing softening domestic demand.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 0.2 percent, retreating from the highest since December 2007. The broader Topix Index slipped 0.1 percent. The gauges’s 14-day relative strength index, a measure of trading momentum, held above the 70 threshold that some traders say signals a sell-off.

Shares on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index traded at 14.3 times estimated earnings yesterday, compared with 14.8 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 13.3 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

U.S. Futures

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped 0.2 percent today. The gauge was little changed in New York yesterday even after Commerce Department figures showed U.S. retail sales rose 0.1 percent last month after a revised 0.5 percent decline in March. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 0.3 percent drop.

Chinese lenders and property developers declined as concern grew the government will introduce more property curbs. ICBC, as the world’s largest lender is known, slid 1.3 percent to HK$5.49 in Hong Kong. Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. slid 1.1 percent to HK$3.76. China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd., the biggest mainland real-estate company traded in Hong Kong, fell 1.5 percent to HK$23.25. China Resources Land Ltd. dropped 3 percent to HK$22.60.

Beijing home pre-sales will need approval from the mayor’s office and the housing bureau, according to 21st Century Business Herald. Pre-sale prices won’t be allowed to be higher than current housing prices in the same area, the report said.

Utilities Rally

Tepco, as the Japan’s largest utility is known, jumped 18 percent to 522 yen, the highest close since July 2011. The government should also take responsibility for the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Abe was quoted as saying in the Yomiuri report.

Other Japanese electricity producers gained as ratings and price targets on some utilities in the sector were raised by Nomura Holdings Inc. Kansai Electric Power Co., whose rating was upgraded to neutral from reduce, advanced 13 percent to 1,417 yen. Kyushu Electric Power Co., whose share-price forecast almost doubled, gained 6.3 percent to 1,464 yen.

Pioneer Corp. surged 26 percent to 293 yen, its biggest gain in four years. The unprofitable audio-equipment said Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and NTT Docomo Inc. would buy shares.

Kajima jumped 8.8 percent to 347 yen, the highest close since September 2008. The builder said operating profit in the 12 months ending March 2014 will increase 68 percent from the previous year to 31 billion yen. The projection beats the 28.9 billion average estimate of 13 analysts compiled by Bloomberg.

Earnings Results

Of the 388 companies on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index that reported quarterly earnings since the beginning of April and for which estimates were available, 52 percent exceeded expectations, while the rest fell short, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Wing Tai Holdings Ltd. gained 3 percent to S$2.37, closing at the highest since January 2008. The Singapore-based property developer said nine-month profit more than doubled to S$255.3 million ($206 million).

Exporters to the U.S. advanced after a report showed U.S. retail sales unexpectedly increased. LG Electronics Inc., the world’s No. 2 television maker, climbed 2.8 percent to 85,500 won in Seoul. Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s biggest mobile-phone maker, added 1.6 percent to 1.5 million won. Panasonic Corp., Japan’s second-largest television maker, climbed 5.7 percent to 852 yen.

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