Asian Stocks Advance on Optimism Euro Leaders Will Complete Greek Bailout
Asian stocks rose, with the benchmark index reversing yesterday’s losses, as euro-area finance chiefs gathered to complete a second Greek bailout. Shares also climbed on expectations of rising U.S. retail sales.
HSBC Holdings Plc (5), Europe’s biggest bank by market value, rose 1.4 percent in Hong Kong. Wynn Macau Ltd., a unit of the casino operator founded by billionaire Steve Wynn, jumped 8.6 percent after Deutsche Bank AG said Macau casino revenue may grow 25 percent. Camera maker Canon Inc. (7751) dropped 0.7 percent in Tokyo, reversing gains after the Bank of Japan decided against expanding its asset-purchase program and the yen strengthened.
“We’re starting to feel more confident and it’s going to be a good year, particularly in equities,” Kirk West, Sydney- based executive director of international investments at Principal Global Investors, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. The firm oversees about $215 billion in assets. “In the U.S., it’s all about jobs. Jobs growth has continued and will ultimately lead to further consumption and that’s a virtuous cycle.”
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.6 percent to 126.96 as of 7:12 p.m. in Tokyo, with more than twice as many stocks climbing as falling. All but one of the industry groups in the measure advanced.
BOJ Stands Pat
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) rose 0.1 percent, almost erasing an earlier gain of 1.2 percent, after the Bank of Japan left its asset purchase fund at 30 trillion yen ($365 billion). The bank surprised investors last month by expanding the fund, weakening the yen and boosting stocks.
South Korea’s Kospi Index climbed 1.1 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index increased 1.2 percent.
Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN) gained 4.5 percent to A$1.73 in Sydney after Macquarie Group Ltd. raised the carrier’s rating to “outperform” from “neutral,” saying a stronger Australian dollar will help offset higher fuel costs.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 1 percent. Russian aluminum producer United Co. Rusal was suspended from trading on Hong Kong’s bourse at the request of the company. Chairman Victor Vekselberg resigned, according to a statement posted online yesterday, saying Rusal had “deteriorated from an international aluminum leader into a company overburdened with debt and entangled in numerous lawsuits and social conflicts.”
The Shanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP), which tracks the larger of China’s main stock exchanges, gained 0.9 percent after Deutsche Bank AG raised its forecast for the nation’s economic growth this year and amid speculation the government will take steps to bolster exports.
Asian companies that do business in Europe advanced today as the region’s finance ministers meet in Brussels to sign off on a 130 billion-euro ($171 billion) bailout for Greece. Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said he had “no doubt” that the package would be approved and he expected a final decision on March 14.
HSBC rose 1.4 percent to HK$68.80, while Perfectech International Holdings Ltd., a packaging products maker that gets about a third of its revenue from Europe, gained 1.4 percent to 72 Hong Kong cents.
Shares also rose ahead of a report today expected to show U.S. retail sales climbed the most in five months in February.
Billabong, Kia Rise
Billabong International Ltd., a surfwear company that counts the Americas as its biggest market, rose 1.8 percent to A$2.80 in Sydney. Kia Motors Corp., a carmaker that depends on North America for about a fifth of its sales, gained 1.3 percent to 73,000 won in Seoul.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 11 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 9 percent advance by the S&P 500 and an 8.3 percent increase by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 14.7 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.1 times for the S&P 500 and 11.1 times for the Stoxx 600.
Wynn Macau surged 8.6 percent to HK$23.35 in Hong Kong. Deutsche Bank said revenue at Macau casinos would grow 25 percent this year, up from an earlier estimate for 20 percent expansion. The stock had the biggest gain in the MSCI Asia Pacific Index.
Longfor Properties Co. jumped 6.1 percent to HK$11.44 in Hong Kong. The developer, which yesterday posted revenue of 24.1 billion yuan ($3.8 billion) for full-year 2011, is targeting 39 billion yuan in sales this year, China Business News reported, citing an unidentified official from the company.
Among stocks that fell, car-lamp makers Koito Manufacturing Co. (7276) and Stanley Electric Co. plunged after saying they are being investigated by Japan’s Fair Trade Commission for possible price-fixing. Koito slid 6.9 percent to 1,341 yen. Stanley dropped 8.9 percent to 1,271 yen.
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