Most Asian shares climbed after data showed U.S. companies added workers. Railway stocks surged in Hong Kong as China outlined economic stimulus plans.
Samsung Electronics Co., South Korea’s biggest exporter of consumer electronics, rose 2.4 percent, contributing the most to the regional equity gauge’s advance. China Railway Construction Corp. jumped 7.2 percent in Hong Kong after the government said it plans more than 6,600 kilometers (4,100 miles) of new rail lines this year. Prada SpA sank 5 percent in Hong Kong after the Italian handbag maker forecast slower luxury sales growth.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.1 percent to 138.98 as of 5:15 p.m. in Tokyo, with five stocks rising for every four that fell. A seventh day of gains would cap the longest advance this year. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index extended a record yesterday after ADP Research Institute said U.S. employment jumped by 191,000 last month, following a 178,000 increase in February that was stronger than estimated. The government payrolls report will be issued tomorrow.
“We are starting to see more positive talk from officials in terms of the potential for stimulus” in China, said Angus Gluskie, managing director at White Funds Management in Sydney that manages about $550 million. The U.S. data is “reasonably favorable” for the market, he said.
Japan’s Topix index added 0.4 percent, rising a ninth day to post its longest winning streak in three years. South Korea’s Kospi index dropped 0.2 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index both gained 0.1 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 0.2 percent.
The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland companies traded in Hong Kong increased 0.7 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.7 percent.
China’s non-manufacturing purchasing managers’ index fell to 54.5 in March from a previously reported 55 in February, the government reported today. China yesterday outlined a package of measures including railway spending and tax relief to support the economy and create jobs after a slowdown endangered Premier Li Keqiang’s target of 7.5 percent growth this year.
“For things to get really better, we need to see more significant announcement on tangible stimulus,” said Gluskie at White Funds.
The Asia-Pacific gauge traded at 12.6 times estimated earnings as of yesterday, compared with 16.1 for the S&P 500 and 14.7 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Futures on the S&P 500 were little changed today after the measure rose 0.3 percent yesterday. Earlier U.S. reports from hiring to factory output had shown weakness this year as freezing temperatures and mountains of snow kept shoppers indoors, grounded flights and made it harder to fill product orders. The Commerce Department said yesterday that factory orders rose 1.6 percent in February, topping estimates for a 1.2 percent advance.
Exporters climbed. Samsung Electronics added 2.4 percent to 1.39 million won in Seoul. LG Display Co., which supplies panels for Apple Inc. devices, jumped 3.2 percent to 27,800 won. Honda Motor Co., a carmaker that gets about 44 percent of sales from North America, gained 1 percent to 3,700 yen in Tokyo.
China’s rail stocks rose after the government said it will sell 150 billion yuan ($24 billion) of bonds this year to help build railways mainly in the less-developed central and western regions. China Railway Construction surged 7.2 percent to HK$7.43 in Hong Kong. China Railway Group Ltd. climbed 5.1 percent to HK$3.92.
Orix Corp. rose 2 percent to 1,513 yen in Tokyo after the leasing company said it will sell its stake in Monex Group Inc. to Shizuoka Bank Ltd.
Among shares that fell, Prada slipped 5 percent to HK$58.65 in Hong Kong. Same-store sales will rise at a “low single-digit” pace in the financial year through January 2015, the Milan-based luxury brand said yesterday, less than last year’s 7 percent increase. The company also reported profit for last year that missed estimates.