Asian Stocks Snap Five-Day Slump Before U.S Jobs Report

Asian stocks rose for the first time in six days, climbing from a four-month low, as shares in Hong Kong and Japan rebounded from a slump and investors awaited a report on U.S. employment.

China Resources Land Ltd. surged 5 percent and China Vanke Co. soared 6.4 percent as mainland developers led gains in Hong Kong. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. advanced 2.9 percent, pushing the nation’s Taiex Index to the largest one-day gain in a year. Indonesian stocks sank to a three-month low amid growing concern that President-elect Joko Widodo will struggle to implement reforms.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.2 percent to 138.76 as of 7:02 p.m. in Hong Kong, paring its weekly drop to 2.3 percent. The measure has retreated 7.2 percent from a six-year high in July. U.S. jobless claims unexpectedly dropped last week, data showed yesterday. A report on American payrolls is due to be released today.

“The labor market in the U.S. has been healing for quite some time,” said Hans Goetti, Singapore-based head of investment for Asia at Banque Internationale a Luxembourg SA. “It will continue. We see the unemployment rate below six percent sometime in the early part of 2015. It’s on the path to recovery.”

Goetti favors global equities relative to bonds, he said.

As investors assess the health of the U.S. economy, analysts are predicting a return to gains of more than 200,000 in nonfarm payrolls. The Federal Reserve, which is on track to announce the end of its bond-buying program this month, is assessing whether the recovery in the world’s largest economy is strong enough to withstand higher interest rates.

Regional Indexes

Japan’s Topix index gained 0.2 percent as the yen weakened 0.5 percent to 108.98 per dollar. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.4 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index fell 0.2 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index rose 0.8 percent.

Taiwan’s Taiex added 1.5 percent. Taiwan Financial Supervisory Commission Chairman William Tseng will announce measures to boost the stock market as early as next week, the Commercial Times reported, without saying where it got the information.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.6 percent and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland firms listed in the city gained 0.4 percent. The Jakarta Composite Index dropped 1.1 percent. Markets in South Korea, India and China are closed.

While protesters in Hong Kong strengthened barricades around the government’s main office building, heavy rain contributed to dwindling numbers of demonstrators at two secondary sites of the occupation. The city’s top official, Leung Chun-ying, agreed to talks aimed at diffusing a week-long standoff that has led businesses and schools in some districts to shut.

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