Asia Stocks Pare Gains on Report Cyprus Won’t Pass Levy

Asian stocks pared gains after a report suggested Cyprus’ parliament won’t approve a tax on bank deposits needed to secure a euro-zone bailout.

Esprit Holdings Ltd., a Hong Kong-based clothier that counts Europe as its No. 1 market, gained 2.2 percent, paring gains of as much as 5.7 percent. Alacer Gold Corp. advanced 2.3 percent in Sydney as gold traded near its highest in three weeks. Mainland utilities gained after profit from China Resources Power Holdings Co. beat estimates, raising expectations the group may outperform.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.4 percent to 134.59 as of 7:37 p.m. in Tokyo, paring an advance of as much as 0.8 percent. The measure declined 1.9 percent yesterday as an unprecedented plan to tax bank deposits in Cyprus spurred $500 billion in global equity losses. Reuters reported today that the nation’s parliament won’t approve the banking levy, a condition for an international bailout.

“People don’t really know what the impact of the Cypriot situation will be,” said Andrew Sullivan, director of sales trading at Kim Eng Securities Hong Kong Ltd, a brokerage unit of Malayan Banking Bhd. “It’s a small country with little economic clout but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t upset the apple cart as Europe remains fragile.”

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average advanced 2 percent as exporters and shippers rose after the yen weakened. Canon Inc., the world’s biggest camera maker, gained 3.1 percent to 3,490 yen. Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd., Japan’s third-biggest shipping line by market value, rose 3.2 percent to 224 yen.

RBA Minutes

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slid 0.6 percent. There are signs the economy is responding to the lowest interest rates in half a century, according to minutes from a Reserve Bank of Australia meeting from earlier this month.

South Korea’s Kospi Index climbed 0.5 percent ,and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index added 0.1 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.2 percent, reversing gains of as much as 0.6 percent. China’s Shanghai Composite Index increased 0.8 percent.

Volumes were below the 30-day intraday average in Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rallied 3.7 percent this year through yesterday as improving economic data from the U.S. and speculation that Japan will deploy more stimulus countered concern over China’s efforts to rein in property prices. Every benchmark index across the Asia-Pacific region fell yesterday.

Asia Earnings

Earnings-per-share on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index will grow 10 percent in the next 12 months and expand a further 15 percent in the following year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The gauge traded at 14.9 times average estimated earnings compared with 14 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and a multiple of 12.8 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“While the market may well be subjected to bouts of concern again, we see the year being a positive one for equities,” said Wellian Wiranto, an investment strategist at the wealth management unit of Barclays Plc in Singapore, which oversees $248 billion. “The degree in which the market has been performing year-to-date is especially encouraging, given the world was served with quite a number of event risks.”

U.S. Futures

Futures on the S&P 500 Index dropped less than 0.1 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.4 percent yesterday, after reaching a record last week, following declines in European and Asian equity markets.

The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee is scheduled to begin a two-day meeting today. The committee in December agreed to link its zero-interest-rate policy to thresholds for unemployment and inflation so investors and households know what conditions will prompt the central bank to consider raising borrowing costs.

Gold traded near its highest in three weeks. Alacer advanced 2.3 percent to A$3.64 and Newcrest added 1.5 percent to A$22.50 in Sydney. Regis Resources gained 0.5 percent to A$4.40.

China Resources Power rose 8.1 percent to HK$22.65, extending yesterday’s 3.7 percent gain. The utility reported yesterday a 68 percent increase in full-year net income to HK$7.48 billion ($964 million). That compares with the HK$6.8 billion average estimate by 14 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Utilities advanced on optimism other electricity suppliers will also surpass analyst estimates, Shi Yan, an analyst at UOB-Kay Hian Holdings Ltd. in Shanghai, said by phone. Huaneng Power International Inc., a mainland electricity producer that is due to report results after the close, rose 5.3 percent to HK$8.09. ENN Energy Holdings Ltd., a natural-gas distributor, rose 5.2 percent to HK$43.40.