- Japan's Topix extends rally to 7.3% over past five days
- Pace of growth in U.S. services industries cools in September
Asian stocks extended gains, heading for the biggest five-day gain in nearly four years, amid speculation that global central bank policies will remain accommodative to counteract weak economic growth.
National Australia Bank Ltd. added 1.1 percent in Sydney as the nation’s central bank kept interest rates at a record-low 2 percent. Sakata Seed Corp. climbed in Tokyo as Bank of America Corp. said the seed wholesaler is one of the potential beneficiaries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. Largan Precision Co. surged 8.5 percent in Taipei after sales rose.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index increased 0.7 percent to 128.85 as of 4:36 p.m. in Hong Kong, extending its five-day gain to 6.4 percent. Futures traders see only a 10 percent chance the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates at its Oct. 27-28 meeting following weaker-than-expected employment growth, while 17 of 36 economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect additional easing from the Bank of Japan by the end of the month.
“Markets continue to believe that weak data will pressure central banks in Europe and Japan to provide more stimulus and will delay the U.S. Fed in its pursuit to begin withdrawing monetary stimulus,” said Matthew Sherwood, head of investment strategy at Perpetual Ltd. in Sydney, which manages about $21 billion. This “continues to have investors believe that asset prices can defy the weak growth environment.”
Japan’s Topix index rose 0.8 percent after the yen weakened 0.5 percent on Monday, taking gains over a five-day period to 7.3 percent. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to push through structural changes to recharge Japan’s economy got a boost as negotiators reached a deal on a Pacific trade pact that would create the world’s biggest regional trade zone. The Trans-Pacific Partnership still needs to be ratified by lawmakers in the 12 member nations.
The Bank of Japan began a two-day meeting Tuesday. Two of 36 economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect additional stimulus this week, with 15 more forecasting the central bank will ease policy at its Oct. 30 meeting.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.3 percent. The Reserve Bank of Australia left interest rates unchanged Tuesday after the local dollar recorded the biggest drop among major currencies last quarter, cushioning the impact of lower commodity prices and a weaker outlook in key trading partner China.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.1 percent, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland firms listed in the city added 0.5 percent. Mainland Chinese markets remain closed for a holiday.
Singapore’s Straits Times Index jumped 1.4 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index climbed 0.7 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index rose 0.6 percent and India’s S&P BSE Sensex index advanced 0.5 percent.
The pace of growth in U.S. services industries cooled last month from the best readings in a decade, a sign consumers may be taking demand down to a more sustainable level in the face of global weakness. The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index declined to 56.9 in September from 59 the prior month, the Tempe, Arizona-based group said Monday.
Traders see a 35 percent probability that the Fed will raise its target rate by December, down from a 58 percent likelihood seen a month ago, according to futures data compiled by Bloomberg.
E-mini futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slid 0.3 percent Tuesday. The underlying measure added 1.8 percent on Monday to cap its longest stretch of gains this year.