Asian Stocks Rise as Japanese Exporters Rally on Weak Yen
Asian stocks rose for a second day, led by Japanese exporters as the yen slid toward a four-year low against the dollar after the Bank of Japan’s stimulus policies were unopposed at a Group of 20 meeting.
Nissan Motor Co. (7201), a Japanese carmaker that gets 79 percent of sales overseas, climbed 2.6 percent. China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd., the nation’s second-largest wireless carrier, jumped 4.3 percent after increasing its third-generation mobile subscribers. PICC Property and Casualty Co., China’s biggest non-life insurer, slipped 2.3 percent in Hong Kong after an earthquake struck the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan at the weekend.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.7 percent to 137.18 as of 7:56 p.m. in Tokyo, with more than two shares rising for each that fell. The measure increased 5.4 percent this year through last week amid signs the U.S. economy is recovering and as Japanese equities rallied on speculation the BOJ will step up efforts to simulate its economy.
“We’re just at the beginning of a prolonged rally in Asian equities,” Kenneth Taubes, head of investment management, U.S., for Pioneer Investments, which oversees about $249 billion, said in a Bloomberg Television interview from Hong Kong. “It’s a clear path for Japan to continue with what it has previously announced -- it’s been validated by the G-20. I’m pretty optimistic and stocks, relative to fixed-income instruments, look very, very attractive.”
The Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) climbed 1.9 percent to close at the highest since July 2008. The yen fell to a low as 90.90 per dollar, the weakest level since it declined to a four-year low of 99.95 on April 11. A weaker currency boosts the value of Japanese exporters’ overseas income when repatriated.
The rally in Japanese shares has added about $787 billion in market value since mid-November as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to defeat 15 years of deflation. BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda emerged from the G-20 meeting saying he was emboldened to press ahead with the campaign to stimulate the economy. The central bank meets this week after pledging April 4 to double the monetary base in two years.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index increased 0.7 percent, while New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index advanced 0.9 percent. South Korea’s Kospi Index (KOSPI) gained 1 percent, while Taiwan’s Taiex Index rose 0.5 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index added 0.1 percent.
The Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.1 percent after the Sichuan province earthquake. The strongest tremor since April 2010 left 188 people dead and about 11,500 injured, according to China Central Television.
Shares on the benchmark MSCI Asia Pacific Index traded at 13.9 times estimated earnings compared with 14.1 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12.4 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
S&P 500 futures rose 0.6 percent today. The gauge increased 0.9 percent on April 19, paring its first monthly decline since October, as companies from Microsoft Corp. to Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. posted better-than-anticipated earnings. The combination of this month’s retreat in global equities and gains by U.S. consumer stocks has made American companies the five biggest in the world for the first time in eight years.
Japanese exporters advanced. Nissan climbed 2.6 percent to 1,052 yen in Tokyo. Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), the world’s biggest carmaker, gained 1.3 percent to 5,550 yen. Canon Inc., the world’s No. 1 camera maker, added 1.8 percent to 3,780 yen.
JTEKT Corp. jumped 11 percent to 946 yen after the Japanese auto-parts supplier posted full-year earnings that beat analyst expectations.
Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co. surged 13 percent to 191 yen, the biggest advance since November 2008. The company plans to hold merger talks with Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. to create Japan’s second-biggest heavy machinery maker, the Nikkei newspaper reported, without citing anyone.
Great Wall Motor Co. (2333), China’s largest pickup truck maker, jumped 15 percent to close at an all-time high of HK$33.50, the biggest advance on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index. (MXAP) The company, which said it aims to export 140,000 vehicles this year, was named among JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s top auto sector picks.
China Unicom gained 4.3 percent to HK$10.70 in Hong Kong. The company said on April 19 it increased its 3G subscribers by 4.3 million in March.
Chinese insurers dropped as the State Council urged the country to donate funds for reconstruction after the earthquake and told non-emergency personnel to stay out of the disaster zone to ease road congestion.
PICC dropped 2.3 percent to HK$9.51 in Hong Kong. China Life Insurance Co., the nation’s biggest insurer, slid 1.9 percent to HK$20.30. Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. fell 0.8 percent to HK$59.60.
OZ Minerals Ltd., Australia’s third-biggest copper producer, sank 11 percent to A$4.30, the lowest close since December 2002. The company cut its production target by as much as 14 percent and raised cost estimates.
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