Asia Stocks Rise on Stimulus Speculation, Airlines Surge on Oil

Asian stocks rose as Japan’s Topix advanced on a weaker yen after slowing inflation spurred stimulus bets. Energy shares dropped and airlines surged on plunging oil prices. China’s equity benchmark capped its biggest weekly gain in four years.

Toyota Motor Corp., which makes about 75 percent of revenue outside Japan, added 2.3 percent. Qantas Airways Ltd. jumped 7 percent while oil explorer Santos Ltd. plunged 13 percent in Sydney. China Citic Bank Corp. soared 8.9 percent in Hong Kong as lenders extended gains.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.1 percent to 140.90 as of 4:07 p.m. in Hong Kong. The measure is heading for a 0.7 percent weekly advance, paring its monthly decline to 0.7 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index jumped 7.9 percent this week amid optimism lower crude prices will benefit transport companies and the central bank will continue to ease policy.

“Major central banks have been trying to push inflation higher and oil prices will make this difficult to achieve,” Stan Shamu, Melbourne-based market strategist at IG Ltd., wrote in a note. “The ECB and BOJ are likely to step up stimulus efforts if they are to reach their inflation goals.”

The Asia-Pacific measure rebounded 5.3 percent from an Oct. 17 low through yesterday as the Bank of Japan expanded bond purchases, China cut interest rates and speculation grew the European Central Bank will take more stimulus measures. ECB President Mario Draghi said yesterday the bank is open to buying a wide variety of assets for further easing.

Japan Economy

Japan’s Topix surged 1.3 percent as the yen fell for the first time in four days. The Bank of Japan’s key price gauge slowed a third month, increasing 2.9 percent in October from a year earlier, equivalent to a 0.9 percent gain when the effects of April’s sales tax increase are excluded. Retail sales dropped 1.4 percent from September, more than the 0.5 percent decline forecast in a Bloomberg News survey.

The data highlighted economic struggles and the difficulty of generating inflation as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe heads into an election next month.

Oil Plunges

Brent crude extended its decline from a four-year low as OPEC took no action yesterday at its meeting in Vienna to relieve a glut. West Texas Intermediate headed for the biggest weekly drop since 2011.

The Shanghai Composite Index jumped 2 percent today. The gauge extended gains after First Shanghai Securities said the People’s Bank of China may trim reserve ratios after unexpectedly lowering lending rates last week. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index lost 0.1 percent while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland shares listed in the city surged 1.2 percent.

South Korea’s Kospi index slid 0.1 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 1.6 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index slid 0.6 percent. U.S. markets were closed yesterday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

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