Asian stocks rose for a fourth day as Japanese shares were boosted by the yen weakening against the dollar and optimism that the global economy is recovering.
Nissan Motor Co. climbed 3.2 percent as the yen touched a one-month low against the dollar. Tokyo Electric Power Co. gained 3.4 percent after the government said it may spend 47 billion yen ($473 million) to control radiation leaks at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant. Rio Tinto Group, the world’s second-biggest miner, led raw-material producers higher, rising 3.1 percent in Sydney after metals prices advanced.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 1.3 percent to 132.69 at 7:44 p.m. in Hong Kong, as all 10 industry groups on the gauge advanced. Almost three shares advanced for every one that retreated. Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.8 percent before U.S. markets reopen following the Labor Day public holiday.
“Markets have started the week in a positive frame of mind,” Mike Jones, a currency strategist in Wellington at Bank of New Zealand Ltd., said by e-mail. “Manufacturing data out of China and Europe essentially confirmed the global economy is on the mend.”
A Chinese services industry index today confirmed the world’s second-biggest economy is strengthening following a two-quarter slowdown, after a weekend report showed manufacturing rose to a 16-month high. A euro-area manufacturing index yesterday increased more than economists forecast.
Premier Li Keqiang said he’s confident China will achieve its economic targets for this year, while Goldman Sachs Group Inc. boosted its 2013 growth forecast for the nation to 7.6 percent from 7.4 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index advanced 1 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.2 percent.
Japan’s Topix index gained 2.8 percent, the equity benchmark’s biggest rally in a month. South Korea’s Kospi index climbed 0.5 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index was little changed and Taiwan’s Taiex added 0.6 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index advanced 0.2 percent.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.2 percent to its highest level in more than three months, with the nation’s benchmark equities gauge maintaining gains after the central bank kept its key interest rate at 2.5 percent.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 1.3 percent this year through yesterday, while the S&P 500 surged 15 percent amid concern the Federal Reserve will taper U.S. economic stimulus this month.
Japan’s Topix index has climbed 34 percent in 2013, the best performing among 24 developed markets tracked by Bloomberg, amid optimism Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Bank of Japan can lead the country out of deflation through unprecedented monetary easing and regulatory reforms.
Japanese exporters advanced as the yen weakened to as low as 99.70 per dollar, boosting the value of overseas earnings repatriated by the country’s companies. Nissan gained 3.2 percent to 1,012 yen and Toyota Motor Corp., Asia’s largest carmaker, rose 3.3 percent to 6,200 yen. Mitsubishi Motors Corp. surged 7.7 percent to 1,077 yen.
Raw-material producers climbed after the London Metal Exchange Index of industrial metals gained 1.3 percent yesterday, the most in two weeks. Rio Tinto, the world’s second-largest mining company, added 3.1 percent to A$61.05. BHP Billiton Ltd., the biggest miner, increased 0.6 percent to A$35.82. Jiangxi Copper Co., China’s largest producer of the metal, rose 2.1 percent to HK$15.52.
Tepco, as Tokyo Electric Power is known, rose 3.4 percent to 525 yen. Steps to address radioactive water leaks at Tepco’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, which was wrecked in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, may include constructing an underground frozen wall to block groundwater from flowing into basements, Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said today.
Kansai Electric Power Co. soared 8.1 percent to 1,217 yen after a panel of seismologists and geologists said an earthquake fault-line under the utility’s Ohi plant may not be active.
Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. climbed 1.8 percent to 225 yen on a report the Japanese shipper ordered four new car carriers worth about 30 billion yen.
Digital China Holdings Ltd., a distributor of technology products, jumped 5.5 percent to HK$9.33 in Hong Kong after receiving approval to spin off Digital China Information Services from the city’s bourse.