Asian Stocks Rise on U.S. Economic Reports

Asian stocks rose for a second day as reports showed U.S. consumer confidence increased to the highest level since 2008 and home values jumped the most in seven years. Japanese utilities climbed.

Nissan Motor Co., a Japanese carmaker that gets 79 percent of its revenue abroad, added 1.2 percent in Tokyo. Tohoku Electric Power Co. surged 22 percent, leading power companies to the biggest advance on Japan’s Topix index. Korea Electric Power Corp. lost 5.1 percent in Seoul as brokerages from Daishin Securities to Shinyong Securities cut price forecasts on shares of the state-owned firm, saying suspended operations at some nuclear reactors may reduce profit.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 0.4 percent to 137.73 as of 7:33 p.m. in Hong Kong, with about three shares rising for every two that declined. Seven of the 10 industry groups on the gauge climbed. Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped 0.6 percent.

“An improving U.S. economy should support earnings and valuations,” said Johannes Jooste, who helps oversee more than $1.76 trillion as a market strategist at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management in London. “Although Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda has signaled no extension to his monetary stimulus package, loose Japanese monetary policy should remain a bolster for local liquidity.”

Relative Value

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index, the benchmark regional equities gauge, traded at 13.4 times average estimated earnings yesterday compared with 15.1 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 13.6 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Asia Pacific gauge fell 3.5 percent this month through yesterday, on course for its first decline in seven months.

The Topix index, Japan’s broadest equity gauge, added 0.9 percent today, with a measure of 30-day historical volatility climbing to 30.93, the highest since April 2011. The Topix, which plunged 6.9 percent on May 23, the most since the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, is still about 37 percent higher this year, beating all major global equity indexes amid unprecedented monetary easing by the central bank.

The Topix’s Electric Power & Gas index advanced the most in more than a month today, as Tohoku Electric soared 22 percent to 1,271 yen and Kyushu Electric Power Co. surged 16 percent to 1,489 yen.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.1 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.2 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index advanced 0.8 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid 1.6 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.1 percent.

Consumer Confidence

U.S. consumer confidence climbed in May to the highest level in more than five years, a Conference Board report showed yesterday. The index rose to 76.2, the strongest since February 2008 and exceeding the highest estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

Separate data showed U.S. house prices rose in the 12 months through March by the most in seven years as the recovery in residential real estate gained momentum. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values increased 10.9 percent from March 2012, the biggest 12-month gain since April 2006, after advancing 9.4 percent in February.

SoftBank Corp. climbed 2.1 percent to 5,320 yen in Tokyo after a person familiar with the situation said its takeover of Sprint Nextel Corp. was close to passing a U.S national-security review.

Korea Electric Power slid 5.1 percent to 27,200 won. The Shin-Kori No. 2 and Shin-Wolsong No. 1 reactors will be shut for about four months to replace control cables supplied under fake quality warranties, the Energy Ministry said yesterday.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.