Asia Stocks Rise as IMF Bullish After U.S. Growth Data

Asian stocks outside Japan rose after data showed faster-than-estimated economic growth in the U.S. and the International Monetary Fund said it will raise its outlook for the world’s largest economy.

Hyundai Merchant Marine Co., Korea’s second-largest shipping company, surged 15 percent in Seoul after Hyundai Group said it plans to sell assets including financial units and its hotel business for at least 3.3 trillion won ($3.1 billion). Echo Entertainment Group Ltd. advanced 6.1 percent in Sydney after a managing director of its Star casino resigned. China Mobile Ltd. added 0.8 percent in Hong Kong after striking a deal with Apple Inc. to sell the iPhone in its home market.

The MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index climbed 0.5 percent to 461.96 at 6:35 p.m. in Hong Kong, its highest close since Dec. 11. All 10 industry groups advanced. Japanese markets are shut today for a holiday.

“The ongoing economic recovery should prove supportive” for equities, Stephen Halmarick, head of investment markets research in Sydney at Colonial First State Global Asset Management, which oversees about $160 billion, said in an e-mail. The Federal Reserve has said that a “highly accommodative stance of monetary policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after the asset-purchase program ends and the economic recovery strengthens.”

U.S. growth in the third quarter was faster than previously estimated as consumers stepped up spending on services such as health care and companies invested more in software. Gross domestic product climbed at a 4.1 percent annualized rate, the strongest since the final three months of 2011 and up from a previous estimate of 3.6 percent, Commerce Department figures showed Dec. 20.

IMF Outlook

Futures on the S&P 500 Index added 0.5 percent today. The gauge last week capped its biggest weekly gain since October, rising 2.4 percent, after the Federal Reserve’s decision to slow the pace of stimulus boosted investor confidence that the recovery in the world’s largest economy is intact. The Dow Jones Industrial Average’s weekly advance of 3 percent was its largest since September.

The International Monetary Fund will raise its outlook for the U.S. economy, as a budget deal in Washington and the Federal Reserve’s plan to taper bond buying ease doubts about the future, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in an interview yesterday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” The IMF said in October the world’s largest economy would expand 2.6 percent next year.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.5 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index advanced 0.9 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index increased 0.7 percent.

Hyundai Merchant

Hyundai Merchant Marine surged 15 percent to 11,600 won. Hyundai Securities Co. increased 3.1 percent to 5,960 won.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.5 percent and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland shares gained 0.2 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index climbed 0.7 percent, and Taiwan’s Taiex Index added 0.6 percent.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 7.2 percent this year through Dec. 20 as central-bank stimulus shored up global economic growth. Gains in 2013 were led by consumer discretionary shares and telecommunications stocks, while energy companies posted the largest losses.

The Fed will probably reduce its bond purchases by $10 billion in each of its next seven meetings before ending the program in December 2014, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 41 economists conducted Dec. 19.

Money Markets

China’s benchmark money-market rate climbed for a seventh day and interest-rate swaps increased as banks hoarded cash to meet year-end regulatory requirements. Citic Securities Co. and Guotai Junan, two of the country’s three biggest securities firms by assets, predict the central bank will refrain from using open-market operations to inject funds this week as policy makers seek to rein in debt and contain inflation. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.2 percent today, halting nine days of losses.

Japan’s Topix index rose 47 percent this year through last week, the most among 24 major developed markets tracked by Bloomberg, amid unprecedented stimulus by the Bank of Japan in support of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to end 15 years of deflation.

Echo Entertainment advanced 6.1 percent to A$2.44 as Frederic Luvisutto resigned as managing director of the Star casino. John Redmond, Echo’s chief executive officer, will oversee management of the Sydney operation.

China Mobile

China Mobile gained 0.8 percent to HK$80.55. The company will sell the iPhone 5s and 5c models in its retail stores starting Jan. 17. The deal will help both companies boost market share.

Hong Kong Television Network Ltd. soared 66 percent to HK$3.85 after the broadcaster that failed to get a new free-to-air license agreed to buy spectrum from a unit of China Mobile to offer mobile-phone TV services.

Newcrest Mining Ltd. fell 2.1 percent to A$7.54 in Sydney after reporting that shareholder class action proceedings may be initiated about the gold producer’s disclosure practices.

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