Asian stocks rose for the first time in three days after the yen fell as investors weighed minutes from the Federal Reserve. Shanghai’s equity benchmark reached a seven-year high as weak data drove stimulus bets.
Mazda Motor Corp., which gets about 80 percent of revenue abroad, climbed 1.3 percent. Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. added 2.4 percent in Sydney as materials shares led gains around the region. Anhui Conch Cement Co. added 1.3 percent in Shanghai. Goldin Financial Holdings Ltd. and Goldin Properties Holdings Ltd., controlled by billionaire Pan Sutong, each plunged more than 40 percent in Hong Kong, with no immediate explanation for the drop.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.2 percent to 153.06 as of 4:03 p.m. in Hong Kong. Japan’s Topix added 0.2 percent, climbing a fifth day to cap the longest rally since February. The yen traded at 121 against the dollar after touching the weakest since March 17 on Wednesday. Minutes of the Fed’s April meeting reinforced expectations that interest rates will probably be boosted in the second half of this year.
“With the Fed expecting to maintain the status quo, that’s a plus for the stock market right now,” said Mitsushige Akino, executive officer at Ichiyoshi Asset Management Co. in Tokyo. “It was mostly in line with the market’s thinking.”
Fed officials last month didn’t expect to raise rates at their June meeting even as they concluded that a first-quarter economic slowdown was unlikely to persist, the minutes showed.
South Korea’s Kospi index fell 0.8 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.9 percent, while New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.2 percent.
The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.9 percent to close at its highest since February 2008 on speculation China will have to do more to boost the economy on signs interest-rate cuts have failed to revive momentum. A preliminary gauge of May factory activity from HSBC Holdings and Markit Economics came in at 49.1, missing the 49.3 estimate in a Bloomberg survey. Readings below 50 signal contraction.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index lost 0.2 percent, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index fell 0.7 percent.
Goldin Financial and Goldin Properties led declines on the Hang Seng Composite Index. The two stocks surged more than 300 percent this year before the rout, with directors unable to give a reason for the extreme price moves. The jump enriched controlling shareholder Pan by $22 billion, most of which evaporated over the past two days.
The slump follows the mysterious 47 percent plunge in 24 minutes by Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Ltd. on Wednesday, which erased $19 billion in market value before trading was suspended. Almost no analysts tracked the three companies.
E-mini futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.2 percent. The underlying gauge lost 0.1 percent on Wednesday amid a selloff in airlines.