Asia’s benchmark stock index rose from a two-month low as energy shares increased after concern that military action against Syria will disrupt global oil supplies fueled gains in crude prices this week.
Inpex Corp., Japan’s biggest energy explorer, advanced 5.2 percent after oil climbed to a two-year high yesterday. Qantas Airways Ltd. jumped 14 percent as Australia’s biggest carrier doubled profit. China Mengniu Dairy Co., the country’s largest dairy producer, soared 6.4 percent after increasing first-half earnings by 16 percent.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.6 percent to 129.91 at 7:53 p.m. in Tokyo as eight of gauge’s 10 industry groups gained. The measure lost 2.4 percent this month through yesterday, wiping out its 2013 advance. Investors are also awaiting a report on U.S. economic growth that may give signs on when the Federal Reserve will start paring stimulus.
“I suspect we will see some stabilization today, but there’s still a lot of caution because the problem is not just Syria,” said Shane Oliver, Sydney-based head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors Ltd., which oversees $131 billion. “There’s a combination of fears that the U.S. Federal Reserve will start paring monetary stimulus and at the same time underlying fundamentals in Asian countries are looking less attractive than they have for many years.”
Investors are watching the Middle East after the U.S. and the U.K. yesterday said they are prepared to take military action against Syria, without authorization from the United Nations Security Council, after the concluding the regime was responsible for a chemical weapons attack against its people.
West Texas Intermediate oil for October delivery gained 1 percent to $110.10 yesterday, the highest close since May 3, 2011, before retreating today. Inpex gained 5.2 percent to 454,500 yen. China Oilfield Services Ltd., a contractor for the nation’s offshore energy industry, added 3.1 percent to HK$19.70.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.2 percent after the measure rebounded 0.3 percent yesterday from an eight-week low as energy shares surged. A report today on second-quarter U.S. economic growth is expected to show 2.2 percent expansion in the second quarter, according to a Bloomberg survey. The government had earlier estimated a 1.7 percent gain
“We’re looking toward the U.S. GDP number to gauge the mood for tapering,” said Evan Lucas, a market strategist at IG Ltd. in Melbourne. “A positive read would suggest tapering is coming, but a bad number will hold it off, and that’s why at the moment there’s isn’t a huge direction coming out of the macro-economic data to suggest what will happen at the September meeting.”
Japan’s Topix index rose 0.2 percent. South Korea’s Kospi Index gained 1.2 percent as a report showed the nation’s current account surplus narrowed in July. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index gained 0.2 percent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.1 percent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.8 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.2 percent. Taiwan’s Taiex Index increased 1.2 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index added 1.1 percent, halting its longest losing streak since 2002. India’s S&P BSE Sensex advanced 2.3 percent.
Qantas surged 14 percent to A$1.40 in Sydney after it doubled profit in the year through June as its Emirates tie-up and cancellation of some unprofitable international routes cut long-haul losses. The share advance was the biggest since 2006.
China Mengniu Dairy advanced 6.4 percent to HK$31.75 in Hong Kong after increasing first-half earnings as tie-ups with foreign milk producers helped reassure customers its products were safe.
PetroChina Co. and Kunlun Energy Co. rebounded from yesterday’s plunge after PetroChina said it would ensure its subsidiary’s stability amid antigraft investigations. PetroChina gained 1.8 percent to HK$8.42 and Kunlun rose 2.6 percent to HK$11.16.