Most Asian Stocks Rise as Macau Casinos Rebound

Most Asian stocks rose as Macau casino operators rebounded in Hong Kong and Canon Inc. said it would buy back shares, outweighing slumps for Great Wall Motor Co. and Wilmar International Ltd.

Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. jumped 5.6 percent after dropping 7.6 percent yesterday. Camera-maker Canon rose 1.9 percent in Tokyo. Amorepacific Corp., a skin-care product manufacturer, surged 11 percent in Seoul. Great Wall tumbled 17 percent in Hong Kong after China’s biggest maker of sport-utility vehicles suspended sales of its new flagship Haval following quality customer complaints. Singapore-based Wilmar, the world’s largest palm-oil trader, sank 3.9 percent after posting a decline in profit.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.2 percent to 137.94 at 7:05 p.m. in Hong Kong, paring its drop this week to 0.3 percent. Five shares rose for every four that fell. The region’s largest equity markets, Hong Kong and Japan, have slumped the most of 24 developed markets tracked by Bloomberg this year amid concern Chinese economic growth is slowing and as the yen strengthened.

“Investors are focusing on getting a return of their capital,” Evan Lucas, a market strategist in Melbourne at IG Ltd., said by phone. “There’s no doubt global markets are starting to position themselves for a shift away from high growth into defensive sectors.”

Regional Gauges

Japan’s Topix index gained 0.5 percent, with more than 300 of the gauge’s constituents reporting earnings today. Canon climbed 1.9 percent to 3,252 yen after the camera maker said it will buy back as many as 17 million shares between May 9 and July 29.

South Korea’s Kospi index rose 0.3 percent after the central bank left its benchmark interest rate at 2.5 percent for a 12th straight month.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 0.3 percent, dragged lower by Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., trading without the right to the current dividend.

Envestra Ltd. surged 18 percent to A$1.335 after billionaire Li Ka-shing’s Cheung Kong Group joined the battle for the Australian natural-gas distributor with a cash bid that values the firm at A$2.4 billion ($2.3 billion).

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index added 0.1 percent, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland shares traded in the city fell 0.5 percent and the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.2 percent. Taiwan’s Taiex index slipped 0.5 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index dropped 0.2 percent and Singapore’s Straits Times Index was little changed.

India’s S&P BSE Sensex Index rose 2.9 percent to a record high before the outcome of a general election next week.

Casinos Advance

Macau casino operators rose in Hong Kong after analysts said worries over a crackdown on illegal money transfers may be overblown and won’t affect gambling demand. Galaxy Entertainment jumped 5.6 percent to HK$58.50 and Sands China Ltd. advanced 5.8 percent to A$55.60.

Great Wall tumbled 17 percent to HK$27.25. The carmaker, led by billionaire Chairman Wei Jianjun, said yesterday it suspended sales of the H8 model after customers reported hearing “knocking noises” in the transmission when driving at high speeds.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index traded at 12.6 times estimated earnings yesterday, compared with 15.9 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Among companies on the Asian gauge that reported results since April 1 and for which Bloomberg had estimates, 51 percent beat projections for profit.

Wilmar Falls

Wilmar lost 3.9 percent to S$3.21 in Singapore as first-quarter profit fell 49 percent. Seasonal losses at its sugar unit were compounded by shrinking margins in soybean crushing and palm refining.

Futures on the S&P 500 declined 0.2 percent today. The U.S. equities benchmark index yesterday lost 0.1 percent, with most shares falling, as technology stocks erased a rally to sell off for a third straight day.

The tech slump continued in Asia, with the Bloomberg Asia Pacific Internet Index dropping 0.9 percent to a five-month low. Japanese Internet-marketing company F@N Communications Inc. sank 19 percent to 1,380 yen, leading losses.