Asian Stocks Rise, Halt Five-Day Slump, as Yen Weakens

Asian stocks rose, with the regional equities benchmark snapping a five-day losing streak, as a weakening yen boosted the earnings outlook for Japanese exporters and China Taiping Insurance Holdings Co. surged after saying it will buy its parent’s assets.

China Taiping, the first overseas-listed Chinese insurer, jumped 15 percent in Hong Kong. Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s biggest carmaker, climbed 4.9 percent in Tokyo. Tokyo Electric Power Co. sank 6 percent after Kyodo News said a parliamentary committee approved a bill allowing people affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster to seek compensation beyond a three-year claims limit.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.4 percent to 137.37 as of 6:14 p.m. in Hong Kong, after dropping as much as 0.6 percent. About two stocks gained for each that fell. The gauge retreated the past five days amid speculation the Federal Reserve will reduce its bond purchases as the U.S. economy improves and China manufacturing data missed estimates.

“There are still a lot of international investors that haven’t positioned themselves in Japan,” Adrian Mowat, Hong Kong-based chief Asia and emerging-market strategist at JPMorgan Chase & Co., said in a Bloomberg TV interview with Susan Li. “I would be advising moving into consumer-related stocks. We are going to see on-going earnings revisions. Perhaps this is a sufficient pullback” to buy Japanese shares.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 0.7 percent. Markets in the U.S. and the U.K. will reopen today after a holiday.

Regional Gauges

Japan’s Topix index rose 1.2 percent. The 30-day historic volatility on the Topix climbed to 31.11, the highest since April 2011. Even after a 9.6 percent drop in the previous three days, Japan’s broadest equities gauge is still up 36 percent this year. The yen fell 1 percent to 101.98 at the 3 p.m. close of equity markets in Tokyo today.

The Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 1.2 percent. The Nikkei Stock Average Volatility Index dropped 3.9 percent to 37.08, indicating traders expect a swing of about 11 percent on the benchmark gauge over the next 30 days.

Toyota Motor rose 4.9 percent to 6,210 yen. Mazda Motor Corp. advanced 6.5 percent to 428 yen. Mitsubishi Motors surged 14 percent to 168 yen. A weaker yen boosts the value of overseas earnings at Japanese exporters.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index added 1.1 percent and the Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.2 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.2 percent and South Korea’s Kospi index rose 0.3 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index climbed 0.4 percent and Taiwan’s Taiex Index slid 0.2 percent.

Consumer Confidence

A report today probably will show U.S. consumer confidence improved, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists, adding to evidence the world’s biggest economy is recovering.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said his country is confronted by “huge challenges” as it opens up the economy and reform will mean slower growth.

China Taiping Insurance surged 15 percent to HK$14.20. The company said it will buy 10.6 billion yuan ($1.7 billion) of assets from its parent, issuing up to 862.7 million shares at HK$15.39 apiece to fund the purchase.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. fell 6 percent to 612 yen. Kyodo said Japan’s upper house committee approved a bill to allow those affected by the Fukushima disaster to seek compensation payments even after the expiry of a three-year statutory period.

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