Asian Stocks Head for Biggest Gain in 8 Months on Draghi
Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index headed for the biggest gain in almost nine months, after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said policy makers will do whatever is needed to preserve the euro.
HSBC Holdings Plc (5), Europe’s biggest lender, rose 2.6 percent in Hong Kong. LG Display Co., which makes digital products, gained 7.3 percent in Seoul on expectations earnings will improve. China Zhongwang Holdings Ltd., which makes aluminum used in rail carriages and airplanes, jumped 5.9 percent in Hong Kong after saying profit will increase. Hitachi Chemical Co., a Japanese manufacturer of chemical products, surged 8.9 percent after raising its profit forecast.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 2.1 percent to 116.16 as of 7:45 p.m. in Tokyo with about six stocks advancing for each that fell and paring its loss this week to 0.4 percent. The measure is headed for the biggest daily increase since Dec. 1.
“There’s a fear things are getting out of control, and so Draghi came out with a very strong statement in support of the market that they are going to do everything necessary to support the euro,” said Cameron Peacock, a Melbourne-based market analyst at IG Markets, a provider of trading services for stocks, bonds and currencies. “We are looking at a fairly strong finish to the end of the week.”
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell about 12 percent from this year’s high on Feb. 29 through yesterday amid concern China’s economy is slowing and Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis will worsen. The regional benchmark index traded at 11.6 times estimated earnings as of yesterday, compared with 13.2 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 10.9 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 1.5 percent as a report showed consumer prices fell in June, raising prospects for additional easing. South Korea’s Kospi Index advanced 2.6 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 1.5 percent, while New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index increased 0.5 percent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 2 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index added 0.1 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index fell 0.2 percent.
Futures on the S&P 500 (SPXL1) rose 0.3 percent today. The gauge added 1.7 percent in New York yesterday, when U.S. reports on durable goods and jobless claims eased concern that economic growth is slowing. Global stocks rallied after Draghi suggested policy makers may intervene in bond markets as yields surge in Spain and Italy.
Companies that do business in Europe advanced. HSBC added 2.6 percent to HK$64.10. Konica Minolta Holdings Inc. (4902), a maker of photographic film that gets 28 percent of its sales in Europe, rose 3.8 percent to 520 yen in Tokyo.
Samsung Electronics Co. (005930), a consumer electronics company that depends on Europe for 19 percent of its sales, jumped 5.2 percent to 1.233 million won. Samsung topped Nokia as the world’s biggest cellphone vendor in the second quarter, according to Strategy Analytics. The Korean company also forecast higher demand for its panel displays and handsets.
Economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast a report today will show the U.S. economy grew an annualized 1.4 percent in the second quarter, compared with a 1.9 percent expansion in the previous three months. The Federal Open Market Committee meets next week and Chairman Ben S. Bernanke last week said policy makers are studying options for further easing in case economic growth remains too feeble to produce a lasting decline in unemployment.
“Everyone wants to see the Fed embark on a third round of quantitative easing,” Peacock said. “It’s going to provide a temporary boost to the stock market, it’s going to push up commodity prices and it’s going to lower the U.S. dollar. It’s going to make people feel a bit better, but it’s not going to solve any structural problem.”
Technology shares rose the most among the 10 groups on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index. LG Display, owned by mobile phone maker LG Electronics Inc. (066570), soared 7.3 percent to 23,500 in Seoul won after Hyundai Securities Co. raised its price target by 25 percent to 35,000 won, saying earnings will improve from August. LG Innotek Co., a mobile-phone component maker, climbed 8.7 percent to 84,100 won.
Investors also watched earnings reports. Earnings have missed analyst estimates for 51 percent of the 125 firms listed on the Asia-Pacific gauge that have reported quarterly results and offered forecasts this month, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
China Zhongwang added 5.9 percent to HK$2.86 after the company said it expects its first-half profit will increase “substantially.”
Hitachi Chemical jumped 8.9 percent to 1,195 yen after raising its fiscal-year net income forecast 9.3 percent to 23.5 billion yen, more than an analyst estimate of 20.9 billion yen.
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