Asian Stocks Advance Third Day as Materials Shares Lead Gains

Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index heading for its biggest three-day advance in a year, as commodity shares climbed on a rally in crude prices.

BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company and Australia’s top energy producer, climbed 3 percent in Sydney. Showa Shell Sekiyu KK surged 28 percent in Tokyo after Japan’s fifth-largest oil refiner said it was holding talks with Idemitsu Kosan Co. for a possible tie-up. Haitong Securities Co. fell 1.9 percent in Hong Kong after China’s No. 2 brokerage said it plans to raise HK$29.9 billion ($3.9 billion) selling shares in private placement.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.7 percent to 137.90 as of 4:27 p.m. in Hong Kong. The gauge jumped by the most in two months on Dec. 19 amid a global equities rally after the Federal Reserve last week pledged patience in raising interest rates. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 1.9 percent, extending its four-day advance to 5.6%, the most since December 2011.

“Asian markets could see a continued bounce,” Vasu Menon, vice president of wealth management at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp., told Bloomberg Television. Stocks “have been oversold and valuations aren’t expensive. Lower oil prices are going to benefit most Asian economies.”

New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.3 percent. Japan’s Topix index added 0.2 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index climbed 0.7 percent. Taiwan’s Taiex index increased 1.1 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index jumped 1.4 percent.

China Rally

Chinese stocks rallied as investors piled into the largest companies amid a surge in trading and volatility. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.6 percent, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland companies traded in Hong Kong surged 3 percent. The benchmark Hang Seng Index rose 1.3 percent.

Brent crude rose 2.1 percent to $62.64 a barrel, extending the biggest rally since October 2012. Saudi Arabia said it was confident that crude will rebound as world economic growth boosts demand.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.3 percent. The gauge climbed on Dec. 19, posting its biggest three-day rally since 2011 and erasing its December loss. Fed Chair Janet Yellen said last week that policy makers are likely to hold key rates near zero at least through the first quarter, even as the U.S. economy strengthens.

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