Asian Stocks Advance for Fifth Week as Commodity Shares Rally

  • Japan's Topix falls for fourth session amid strengthening yen
  • Emerging markets surge as Manila climbs 20% from January low

Asian stocks headed for a fifth weekly gain as material and energy companies climbed after oil topped $40 a barrel. Japanese shares slid after the yen jumped against the dollar.

Equity gauges in China, Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore gained, while the MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed. The regional gauge is heading for a 1.6 percent five-day increase and the longest streak of weekly advances since July 2014. China stocks posted their steepest weekly gain since November while Manila’s benchmark index entered a bull market. Japan’s Topix index fell 1 percent after the yen rose more than 1 percent against the dollar on Thursday as the Federal Reserve cut forecasts for interest-rate increases.

The Fed “has provided a strong boost for commodities,” Niv Dagan, executive director at Peak Asset Management LLC in Melbourne, said by phone. “The fact that U.S. interest rates won’t rise any time soon -- and we’ve seen the ECB announce additional stimulus and the Bank of Japan moving to negative interest rates -- does provide that additional confidence to the market.”

A comeback since mid-February led by commodity producers and financial shares has trimmed the regional equity gauge’s drop for 2016 to 2.4 percent. Oil’s more than 50 percent recovery from an almost 13-year low just five weeks ago has underpinned a revival in risk assets following a volatile start to the year for global markets.

Southeast Asian stocks are bouncing back from a bear market, outpacing global indexes as foreign investors pour in amid recovering economies. The MSCI South East Asia Index is up almost 20 percent from a closing low on Jan. 21. Equities in the Philippines jumped 1.3 percent, sending them 20 percent above a January low. Other benchmark gauges are close behind Manila in recovering: Taiwan and Indonesia stocks are up 19 percent from last year’s lows.

Regional Gauges

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.3 percent as Commonwealth Bank of Australia rose 1 percent and BHP Billiton Ltd. surged 4.7 percent. Rio Tinto Group, which Thursday said Jean-Sebastien Jacques will takeover as its chief executive officer, added 1 percent.

South Korea’s Kospi index climbed 0.2 percent. New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 0.8 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index advanced 0.6 percent and India’s S&P BSE Sensex Index rose 0.2 percent.

The Hang Seng Index added 0.8 percent. Tencent Holdings Ltd. advanced 3.7 percent after Asia’s biggest Internet company posted a 22 percent jump in fourth-quarter profit as it increased spending on content to draw users to its new smartphone games and drive ads on social networks.

The Shanghai Composite Index advanced 1.7 percent to bring its weekly gain to 5.2 percent, after a recovery in the nation’s property market accelerated, the yuan strengthened and small-company shares rallied amid easing concern about oversupply of equities.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed. The underlying measure rose 0.7 percent on Thursday, taking it to within 0.2 percent of erasing its decline for the year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average wiped out its 2016 losses as the weaker dollar spurred a rally in commodity producers and industrial shares that spread to the broader market.

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