Asian Stocks Follow U.S. Rally on Stimulus Optimism

Asian stocks rose, following the steepest U.S. rally in a year, amid speculation Europe’s central bank would add stimulus and as Apple Inc.’s record holiday sales forecast buoyed optimism about U.S. company earnings.

Huaneng Power International Inc. climbed 2.1 percent in Hong Kong after its third-quarter profit exceeded Barclays Plc’s estimate by 8 percent. Sony Corp. gained 3.4 percent after Third Point LLC, the hedge-fund run by activist investor Daniel Loeb, sold its stake in the electronics maker. BYD Co., the electric-car maker partially owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., advanced 3.5 percent after China said it would promote the use of alternative-energy vehicles.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 1.5 percent to 138 as of 4:36 p.m. in Hong Kong. The gauge has rebounded this week after sinking to an almost seven-month low on Oct. 17. As the Federal Reserve winds down stimulus, investors are looking to the European Central Bank and Bank of Japan to bolster the outlook for the global economy.

“The bottom line is Japan and ECB will fill the gap left by the Fed,” said Shane Oliver, Sydney-based head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors Ltd. “It looks to me like a typical correction market. Sentiment gets pushed to a negative extreme, markets become undervalued again and smart investors find opportunities to buy back in.”

Regional Gauges

Japan’s Topix index rose 2.6 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index added 1.1 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 1.1 percent, while New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rallied 0.9 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 1.4 percent and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of Chinese shares traded in the city added 1.5 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.6 percent.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slid 0.3 percent today after the underlying measure surged 2 percent yesterday, the most since October 2013. The ECB bought Italian covered bonds as it returned to the market for a second day under its asset-purchase program, according to two people familiar with the matter. Reuters earlier reported the ECB is looking to buy corporate bonds on the secondary market amid growing concern the euro area’s economic growth is slowing.

Apple rallied after saying revenue in the current quarter will be $63.5 billion to $66.5 billion. That compares with the $63.5 billion average estimate of analysts in a Bloomberg survey and exceeds Apple’s holiday sales at the end of last year. The company introduced bigger-screen iPhones, slimmer iPads and a mobile-payments service this year.

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