Asian stocks followed U.S. shares higher as mixed economic data fueled bets the Federal Reserve won’t rush to raise rates. China’s Shenzhen Composite Index posted its biggest weekly gain since November 2008.
Oil explorer Inpex Corp. climbed 2.4 percent in Tokyo as crude headed for a record run of weekly gains on signs the global supply glut is easing. Huatai Securities Co. jumped 4.4 percent in Shanghai after people with knowledge of the matter said the brokerage is poised to raise $4.5 billion from listing in Hong Kong. Belle International Holdings Ltd. surged 13 percent, the most since January 2014, after the footwear retailer agreed to deepen cooperation with Alibaba’s Tmall.com.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.7 percent to 153.96 as of 4:07 p.m. in Hong Kong, heading for a 0.4 percent weekly advance. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed to a record on Thursday after unemployment claims dropped while home purchases unexpectedly fell. The Bank of Japan today kept its asset-purchase plan unchanged, as predicted by economists, while improving its outlook on the economy.
“We’re seeing very mixed data come out of the U.S.,” Shane Oliver, who helps oversee $124 billion as Sydney-based head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors Ltd., told Bloomberg TV. “I expect a relatively dovish message from Janet Yellen. The impression may be that the first rate hike gets pushed out even further,” he said.
Purchases of previously owned U.S. homes unexpectedly retreated in April, and jobless claims over the past four weeks dropped to a 15-year low. Minutes of the Fed’s April meeting released Wednesday indicated officials probably won’t raise rates in June, though the option of tightening this year remains open. Fed Chair Yellen delivers a speech on the U.S. economic outlook Friday.
Japan’s Topix index added 0.1 percent, pushing the market value of the shares to a record 591.3 trillion yen ($4.9 trillion). The gauge advanced 2.5 percent on the week, the most since February. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average closed 0.3 percent higher today.
The BOJ maintained monetary base expansion at an annual pace of 80 trillion yen ($662 billion). All of 36 economists in a Bloomberg survey forecast the outcome.
The Shanghai Composite rose 2.8 percent, advancing 8 percent this week in the biggest such gain since December. The Shenzhen Composite Index jumped 12 percent on the week amid speculation the government will boost technology spending. The gauge rallied 158 percent in the past 12 months, compared with the Shanghai Composite Index’s 130 percent surge.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 1.7 percent and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland firms traded in the city advanced 2.1 percent. Routs of Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Ltd., Goldin Property Holdings Ltd. and Goldin Financial Holdings Ltd. wiped out $35 billion in market value two days this week, prompting calls from investors for more oversight.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index today closed little changed, while New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.1 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index advanced 1.1 percent.
E-mini futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed after the underlying gauge added 0.2 percent on Thursday.