Asian Stocks Snap Three-Day Loss as Abe Wins Election

Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index snapping three days of losses, after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s victory in upper-house election gave him a freer hand to execute economic reforms.

Samsung Engineering Co. rose the most on MSCI Asia Pacific Index, jumping 8.3 percent in Seoul, on speculation it will post a profit in the third quarter. NEC Corp. added 4.2 percent in Tokyo after the Nikkei newspaper reported the computer manufacturer will form a server partnership with Hewlett-Packard Co. Minsheng Banking Corp., China’s first non-state lender, dropped 0.8 percent after the central bank removed a floor on lending rates.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.5 percent to 135.65 as of 6:31 p.m. in Tokyo with all of the measure’s 10 industry groups rising.

“Abe’s victory in the upper house is bullish for Japanese equities and the Japanese economy as a whole, as the removal of political headwinds bolsters the government’s ability to press forward with all ‘three arrows’ of its growth strategy,” John Vail, Tokyo-based chief global strategist at Nikko Asset Management Co., which manages $162 billion, wrote in an e-mail. “Global investors should be seriously considering Japanese equities, or they may well miss out on major opportunities. These reforms will be even stronger than promised before the election.”

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 4.3 percent this year through July 19, with consumer discretionary stocks leading the gain and energy shares falling the most among the 10 industry groups on the measure. The Asian benchmark gauge traded at 13.3 times estimated earnings, compared with 15.4 times for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 13.5 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

Regional Gauges

Japan’s Topix index gained 0.4 percent after falling as much as 0.4 percent. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average advanced 0.5 percent after yesterday’s victory by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party gave it an outright parliamentary majority, allowing Abe to push through economic reforms and deregulation. Shipping companies gained the most among the Topix’s 33 industry groups. Nippon Yusen K.K., Japan’s biggest shipping line by sales, added 3.4 percent to 303 yen. Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd., ranked No. 2, gained 1.9 percent to 422 yen.

South Korea’s Kospi index gained 0.5 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.6 percent, while New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index climbed 0.4 percent. Taiwan’s Taiex Index rose 0.5 percent and Singapore’s Straits Times Index gained 0.7 percent.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.3 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite Index added 0.6 percent. The People’s Bank of China scrapped the floor on the rates banks can charge customers on July 19 while keeping a cap on deposit rates. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said July 16 the nation will seek to keep economic growth, employment and inflation within limits.

“The gesture by the PBOC was symbolically important, but the actual economic and financial impact was neutral,” said Khiem Do, Hong Kong-based head of Asian multi-asset strategy at Baring Asset Management Ltd., which manages about $51 billion. Li’s comments last week “provide a bottom to the market, but for the market to go up strongly, one needs to see clear measures to boost growth in China.”

China Minsheng dropped 0.8 percent to HK$7.78 in Hong Kong as Moody’s Investors Service said it will face increased competition for loans to small and medium enterprises. Chongqing Rural Commercial Bank Co., created after the government merged rural cooperatives in the region, lost 2.5 percent to HK$3.14. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., the country’s No. 1 lender, retreated 1.2 percent to HK$4.86.

U.S. Earnings

Futures on the S&P 500 rose 0.1 percent today. The measure added 0.2 percent in New York on July 19, capping a fourth straight week of gains, as better-than-forecast results from General Electric Co. offset disappointing earnings from Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp.

About 53 percent of S&P 500 companies that have reported second-quarter results have beaten revenue projections, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Among other stocks that rose, Samsung Engineering soared 8.3 percent to 76,000 won, the most since September 2011. The provider of engineering construction and project management services is expected to post an operating profit of 130 billion won ($116 million) in the third quarter as it makes up losses from about five overseas projects in the first half, said Wayne Lee, an analyst at Woori Investment & Securities Co.

NEC added 4.2 percent to 246 yen in Tokyo after the Nikkei newspaper reported the computer manufacturer will form a server partnership with Hewlett-Packard Co.

China Resources Power Holdings Co., a mainland electricity generator that tumbled 15 percent last week amid allegations of overpaying for coal assets, rose 5.2 percent to HK$17.74 in Hong Kong as shareholders rejected a merger plan with China Resources Gas Group Ltd.

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