Asia Stocks Rise for Fifth Day as Typhoon Shuts Hong Kong

Asian stocks rose for a fifth day, on course for the longest streak of gains in six weeks, amid low trading volumes after trading in Hong Kong was canceled due to a typhoon and earnings surged at Tata Steel Ltd.

Tata Steel, India’s biggest producer of the material, gained 3.6 percent after posting its best quarterly earnings in two years. Leighton Holdings Ltd. sank 6 percent after Australia’s largest builder missed earnings estimates. Hokuetsu Kishu Paper Co. dropped 1.8 percent after Japan’s No. 3 paper maker by market value cut its profit forecast.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.6 percent to 135.90 at the close of trade as all 10 industry groups climbed. Five stocks advanced for every three that fell.

“Keep building those constructive risk positions with the improving global backdrop,” George Boubouras, Melbourne-based chief investment officer at Equity Trustees Ltd., where he helps oversee about $28 billion, told Bloomberg TV. “We are overweight global equities. We’re still playing the big multinationals in Asia.”

Japan’s Topix index rose 1.2 percent. Daily trading volume fell to the lowest this year on Aug. 12 and remained near that level yesterday, with fewer than 2 billion shares changing hands during the summer vacation. Volume today was 15 percent below the 30-day average.

The Topix has surged 36 percent this year, retaining its position as the world’s best-performing developed equity market, amid optimism Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will push through reforms while the Bank of Japan provides record stimulus to spur a recovery in Asia’s second-largest economy.

Storm Shutdown

Trading in Hong Kong was canceled after the city issued a No. 8 storm signal, the third-highest. More than 200 flights were canceled or delayed at the city’s airport as Typhoon Utor brought maximum wind speeds of 119 kilometers (74 miles) an hour. The storm is forecast to skirt about 250 kilometers southwest of the city as it heads toward the coast of China’s Guangdong province.

“It’s like a ghost town, everything’s closed,” Gavin Parry, managing director of Hong Kong-based brokerage Parry International Trading Ltd., said by telephone. “It’s eerie in that respect, given it’s such a populous place and usually it’s hustle and bustle.”

U.S. retail sales advanced for a fourth month in July, data showed yesterday after Japanese machinery orders topped estimates and euro-area factory output expanded in June. The German and French economies expanded more than expected in the second quarter, reports showed today.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index closed little changed. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index fell less than 0.1 percent after the statistics office said retail sales accelerated last quarter.

Regional Indexes

Taiwan’s Taiex Index sank 0.4 percent, while Singapore’s Straits Times Index gained 0.1 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index rose 0.6 percent after the jobless rate remained unchanged in July for a third month.

India’s S&P BSE Sensex Index added 0.7 percent, led higher by Tata Steel, which rose 3.6 percent to 250.10 rupees.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped 0.2 percent today. The equity gauge rose 0.3 percent yesterday in New York after data on U.S. retail sales reinforced signals the world’s largest economy is expanding moderately.

Asian Earnings

About 50 percent of companies on the MSCI Asia Pacific gauge that have posted profits this earnings season beat analysts’ estimates, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia fell 1.1 percent to A$73.73. Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. retreated 1.1 percent to S$3.78 today after posting earnings.

The gauge traded at 13.1 times estimated earnings yesterday, compared with 15.4 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 14 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Leighton dropped 6 percent to A$16.24 in Sydney as profit missed analyst estimates amid a slump in mining industry demand. Computershare Ltd. sank 6.3 percent to A$9.75 in Sydney, the most in three years, after the share-registry firm reported profit fell.

Hokuetsu Kishu Paper fell 1.8 percent to 440 yen in Tokyo after cutting its operating profit forecast by half.