Asian Stocks Index Advance to Six-Month High on U.S. Data

Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index climbing to a six-month high, as China reported industrial profits and U.S. data added to signs a recovery in the world’s largest economy is intact.

Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s biggest maker of smartphones, climbed 1.8 percent in Seoul. Yamada Denki Co. jumped 6.4 percent in Tokyo after the consumer-electronics retailer said it will buy back shares. Mitsui Fudosan Co. sank 4.7 percent as Japan’s No. 1 developer said it plans to raise as much as 324.6 billion yen ($3.2 billion) selling shares.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.5 percent to 141.9, reaching its highest level since Nov. 29. Almost two stocks rose for each that fell. The value of global equities climbed to a record $63.8 trillion this week and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index reached an all-time high.

“We are seeing more and more evidence that Chinese growth is rebounding into the second half of the year,” said Nader Naeimi, Sydney-based head of dynamic asset allocation at AMP Capital Investors Ltd., which manages $131 billion. “U.S. data continues to get better.”

The Asia-Pacific gauge rebounded 8.5 percent through yesterday from this year’s low in February amid optimism the U.S. economy can withstand a reduction in stimulus and that Chinese policy makers will step in to bolster slowing growth. The measure traded at 12.9 times estimated earnings at the last close, the highest since the end of March. That compares with 16.2 on the S&P 500 and 15.4 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Regional Gauges

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index Excluding Japan Index climbed 0.5 percent to 489.17, its highest level since July 2011. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.6 percent, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland stocks listed in the city jumped 1.1 percent. Profit at Chinese industrial companies increased 10 percent in January to April from a year earlier, a report showed today.

Japan’s Topix index added 0.3 percent. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 0.2 percent, with construction companies Shimizu Corp. and Kajima Corp. among the biggest advances on the gauge on a report the government may extend tax benefits for investment in city development.

New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index advanced 0.7 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.3 percent. Taiwan’s Taiex index gained 0.7 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index climbed 1 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index was little changed. Thailand’s SET Index added 0.7 percent.

U.S. Factories

Orders for U.S. durable goods climbed for a third month in April, a sign factories will help the world’s biggest economy strengthen. Bookings for goods meant to last at least three years rose 0.8 percent after a 3.6 percent gain in the prior month that was stronger than previously reported, Commerce Department figures showed.

In other economic reports, the Conference Board’s index of U.S. consumer confidence increased to 83 in May from 81.7 a month earlier. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property prices in 20 U.S. cities increased 12.4 percent from March 2013 after a 12.9 percent gain in the year ended in February.

The S&P 500 climbed 0.6 percent in New York yesterday as JBS SA’s $6.4 billion offer for Hillshire Brands Co. drove sentiment along with the economic data.

Positive Data

“Sentiment was lifted by a string of positive data releases out of the U.S.,” said Stan Shamu, a market strategist at IG Ltd. in Melbourne. This “confirms the U.S. is continuing to bounce back after a tough start to the year.”

Exporters advanced. Samsung Electronics climbed 1.8 percent to 1.433 million won in Seoul. Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings Ltd., a supplier of athletic shoes to U.S.-based Nike Inc., jumped 3.2 percent to HK$24.35 in Hong Kong.

ALS Ltd., the largest provider of commercial-testing services in Australia, surged 8 percent to A$8.60, closing at the highest price since Jan. 21.

Goodpack Ltd. climbed 4.3 percent to S$2.44 for its biggest advance since April 3. KKR & Co., the buyout firm run by George Roberts and Henry Kravis, offered S$1.4 billion ($1.1 billion) to buy the Singapore-based provider of bulk containers.

Yamada Denki rose 6.4 percent to 399 yen in Tokyo after saying it will sell convertible bonds and use the proceeds to buy back shares.

Among shares that declined, Mitsui Fudosan sank 4.7 percent to 3,182 yen. As part of the biggest share sale by a developer in Japan in at least four decades, the company plans to sell as many as 110 million shares as it expects a boost from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the government’s efforts to stimulate growth.

Sands China Ltd. fell 2.1 percent to HK$57.05 in Hong Kong after Waddell & Reed sold a $1.38 billion stake in the casino operator. Investors including Waddell & Reed are selling their holdings in the Macau casino operator for a stake in its parent company Las Vegas Sands Corp., which also runs casinos in Singapore and is planning projects in Japan outside its home base in the U.S.

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