Asia Stocks Rise as Weak Yen Buoys Japan, Investors Watch Greece

Asian stocks rose as investors monitored negotiations in Europe on extending Greece’s bailout. Japan’s Topix index surged to a seven-year high as the yen held losses past 120 per dollar.

Toyota Motor Corp., a carmaker that gets 75 percent of sales overseas, climbed 1.8 percent in Tokyo. Fanuc Corp. jumped 6.2 percent to a record after activist investor Daniel Loeb’s Third Point hedge fund said it invested in the robot maker and urged a buyback. China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd. gained 4.2 percent to pace gains among mainland telecommunication stocks.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.4 percent to 140.51 as of 4:04 p.m. in Hong Kong, heading for its first advance in six days. Euro-area governments left tough decisions on the bailout for next week after talks failed to bridge differences over the aid program that the Greek government blames for economic hardship. Japan’s Topix added 1.5 percent to close at its strongest since December 2007.

“Our sense at the moment is that investors are assuming a deal gets done,” Bill Maldonado, Hong Kong-based chief investment officer for Asia Pacific at HSBC Global Asset Management, told Bloomberg TV. “We can expect to see bonds continue to behave relatively well and equities to continue to do well.”

With Greece’s current bailout expiring at the end of February, finance ministers met for six hours in Brussels without signing off on any conclusions on the way forward for the region’s most-indebted nation. That leaves open how Greece can avoid running out of cash and avert a possible exit from the 19-nation currency union.

Machinery Orders

The Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 1.9 percent to end the day at its highest level since July 2007. The yen traded at 120.31 per dollar after weakening 1.5 percent in the past two sessions. Machinery orders in the world’s third-biggest economy surged 11.4 percent in December from a year earlier, double the rate forecast by economists.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 0.4 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite rose 0.5 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index slid 0.2 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index slipped 0.7 percent.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index retreated 0.4 percent after the Australian dollar weakened a third day. Data showed the nation’s employment dropped by 12,200 jobs in January from the month before, more than double the decline projected by economists.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.1 percent after the underlying gauge closed little changed yesterday. Apple Inc. added 2.3 percent to a record high as billionaire activist Carl Icahn raised his anticipated price for the company’s shares.

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