Asian stocks rose for a third day, with the regional benchmark extending a seven-year high, as technology companies led the advance. Shares in Taiwan rose the most in almost two years.
Nomura Holdings Inc. added 2.9 percent as brokerages gained in Tokyo. Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Ltd., a maker of solar equipment, surged 14 percent in Hong Kong. Huaneng Power International Inc. dropped 4.6 percent after a gauge of China factory activity fell to the lowest in a year. Fubon Financial Holding Co. jumped 6.9 percent on speculation Taiwan will broaden access to China’s capital markets.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.2 percent to 155 as of 4:07 p.m. in Hong Kong, headed for the highest close since Jan. 4, 2008. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average climbed 0.3 percent to 20,187.65 after closing above 20,000 Wednesday for the first time in 15 years.
“The world is awash with easy money,” said Ayako Sera, a Tokyo-based market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank Ltd., which oversees about $474 billion. “With negative yields creeping up in Europe, there’s no place to leave cash. In Japan, while yields aren’t negative, they’re very low. So among the lousy options, putting cash into stocks seems like a reasonable choice.”
The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index sank 1.3 percent, while the Hang Seng Index slid 0.4 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.4 percent after falling as much as 0.9 percent.
The HSBC Holdings Plc/Markit Economics preliminary gauge of China factory activity for April fell to 49.2 from a final reading of 49.6 the month before, underscoring an economic slowdown that prompted policy makers to cut banks’ reserve requirements by the most since 2008.
Japan’s Topix index advanced 0.2 percent to extend a seven-year high. South Korea’s Kospi index climbed 1.4 percent to the highest since July 2011 after the first-quarter economic growth beat estimates. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.1 percent, while New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index slipped 0.6 percent.
Taiwan’s Taiex index jumped 1.9 percent. The gauge rallied after China’s securities regulator said it was studying setting up a stock-trading link between Shanghai and Taipei, the Economic Daily News reported Wednesday.
E-mini futures on the S&P 500 slipped 0.5 percent. The underlying measure rose on Wednesday amid results from Coca-Cola Co. and McDonald’s Corp. The S&P 500 is less than 0.5 percent away from an all-time reached on March 2. American equities have fluctuated during the past month amid concerns that a stronger dollar and lower oil prices would hurt corporate earnings as the Fed considers when to raise interest rates.