Asia Stocks Rise, Led by Utilities, as Hong Kong Rebounds

Asian stocks climbed, with the regional benchmark index rising for the first time in three days, as utilities advanced and Hong Kong stocks rebounded from yesterday’s slump.

Gail India Ltd., a distributor of natural gas, jumped 4.6 percent in Mumbai to lead power companies higher. Coolpad Group Ltd. jumped 13 percent in Hong Kong after the smartphone maker said profit increased. Inpex Corp., a Japanese oil explorer, tumbled 3.3 percent as crude slid after Iraqi army victories damped concern the nation’s supplies will be disrupted.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.2 percent to 144.94 as of 6:33 p.m. in Hong Kong after falling as much as 0.3 percent. All but two of the 10 industry groups rose on the measure.

“After a lackluster start, most of the major markets in the Asian region have turned positive despite a lack of leads to drive sentiment,” Stan Shamu, a Melbourne-based market strategist at IG Ltd., wrote in a note. “Markets in China have somewhat found their footing after a dismal session yesterday.”

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.3 percent after dropping 1.7 percent yesterday, the biggest decline in three months. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index and the Shanghai Composite Index both added 0.5 percent. Taiwan’s Taiex index gained 0.2 percent.

Japan’s Topix index added 0.1 percent after falling as much as 0.7 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index climbed 1 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.4 percent, while New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index lost 0.1 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index rose 0.1 percent, and India’s S&P BSE Sensex jumped 1.4 percent.

U.S. Recovery

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 0.3 percent today. The U.S. equity gauge slid less than 0.1 percent yesterday as General Electric Co. led industrial shares lower, to offset gains among energy producers.

Data yesterday showed U.S. sales of existing homes climbed 4.9 percent to a 4.89 million annualized rate last month, the most since October. A separate report from Markit Economics showed a measure of U.S. manufacturing growth rose to 57.5 in June from 56.4 in May.

A preliminary China manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics rose to 50.8 for June yesterday, exceeding the 49.7 median estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. A number above 50 indicates expansion.

China Outlook

“Things in China are starting to look brighter, underlining support for share markets,” said Shane Oliver, Sydney-based head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors Ltd., which has $131 billion under management.

A subindex of utilities on the regional benchmark rose, with Gail India jumping 4.6 percent to 459.50 rupees. Korea Electric Power Corp. advanced 3.6 percent to 39,900 won in Seoul. Power Assets Holdings Ltd. added 1.9 percent to HK$66.50 to lead gains on the Hang Seng Index.

Coolpad surged 13 percent to HK$2.04. The company cited “significant” growth in smartphone sales for a rise in year-to-date profit, according to a filing with Hong Kong’s bourse.

Energy shares fell. Brent crude traded near a one-week low and West Texas Intermediate slipped amid speculation the flow of Iraqi oil won’t be slowed by violence in OPEC’s second-largest producer. Inpex declined 3.3 percent to 1,570 yen. Cnooc Ltd., China’s largest offshore energy explorer, slid 1.5 percent to HK$13.56.

Among other stocks that fell, SPT Energy Group Inc. plunged 6.1 percent to HK$4.35 after a block trade of the stock crossed at a 6.9 percent discount to its last close.

The Asia-Pacific gauge traded at 13.3 times estimated earnings as of yesterday, the most expensive level since December, according to weekly data compiled by Bloomberg. That compared with 16.6 for the S&P 500 and 15.5 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, the data show.

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