Asian Stocks Rise to Extend First Weekly Advance in Three Weeks

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Asian stocks rose, with the benchmark gauge heading for its first weekly advance in three weeks, as Hong Kong shares climbed on bets an exchange link with Shenzhen will start soon and Japan’s Topix index gained amid buybacks.

Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. jumped 5 percent amid speculation the announcement of start date of the link is imminent. Dentsu Inc. surged 14 percent to a record after the Japanese advertising company said it will repurchase shares. Amorepacific Group, a South Korean cosmetics maker, added 4 percent in Seoul after earnings beat estimates.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index increased 0.5 percent to 152.85 as of 2:15 p.m. in London. The measure is heading for a 1.1 percent gain this week. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index closed at an all-time high on Thursday as Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc. led a rally in technology shares and the weaker dollar buoyed multi-national companies. E-mini futures on the U.S. equity benchmark were little changed Friday.

“There are some market talks that the Hong Kong Stock Exchange will announce details on the Shenzhen connect this weekend, with the starting date being in September,” said Yen Chiu, a Hong Kong-based trader at Shenwan Hongyuan Group. “The rally seems to be speculation-driven for now.”

Japan’s Topix climbed 1 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index increased 0.7 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index gained 0.4 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index added 0.2 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index slipped 0.7 percent. Taiwan’s Taiex index lost 0.3 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index advanced 2 percent, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland shares traded in the city added 1.7 percent. The Shenzhen Composite Index fell 0.5 percent at the close, paring a 1.9 percent loss.

China Drops

China’s Shanghai Composite Index sank 1.6 percent on concern new share sales will lure funds from existing equities and sluggish economic growth will hurt earnings. Data from factory output to retail sales and new lending all trailed estimates this week after the central bank raised interest rates for the third time since November to shore up the economy. New equity offerings will probably lock up 2.79 trillion yuan ($450 billion) starting next week, based on the median estimate of analysts in a Bloomberg survey.

“The recently released economic data was poor,” said Gerry Alfonso, a trader at Shenwan Hongyuan Group Co. in Shanghai, the second-largest listed Chinese brokerage. “Investors are now back to stock picking and there are no clear short-term catalysts. There is also a new round of IPOs and investors are likely to be selling some of their holdings.”

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