Asian Stocks Rebound From One-Month Low as Financials Lead Gains

Asian stocks headed for the biggest advance in more than a month as banks climbed and Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose to an almost 15-year high.

Nissan Motor Co., a carmaker that gets more than 77 percent of revenue overseas, added 2.8 percent. Bank of Communications Co. and China Construction Bank Corp. gained at least 2 percent each in Hong Kong after mainland credit data beat estimates. Industrial Bank Co. jumped 9.6 percent in Shanghai after indicating it will move into securities as soon as regulators allow Chinese lenders to act as brokerages.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 1.2 percent to 143.82 as of 4:05 p.m. in Hong Kong. The measure is headed for the biggest gain since Feb. 4 after closing yesterday at the lowest since Feb. 12. South Korea’s central bank cut its key interest rate to an all-time low to counter slowing inflation and a weak recovery, joining a global wave of monetary easing this year.

“There’s such a divergence between what’s going on in the rest of the world, with central banks cutting rates and the U.S. likely raising them,” Michael Cuggino, San Francisco-based president of Pacific Heights Asset Management LLC, told Bloomberg TV. “ Still, there’s money to be made in stocks.”

Global equities fell to the lowest in more than a month on Wednesday as the dollar’s climb spurred concern over corporate profits and damped commodity prices. Speculation the Federal Reserve will push forward higher interest rates has fueled the greenback’s ascendancy as monetary authorities around the world ease policy. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi this week started his first round of bond buying to stop deflation taking hold in the euro area.

Japan’s Topix index and the Nikkei 225 climbed 1.4 percent each. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 1 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.4 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index declined 0.5 percent.

China Shares

The Shanghai Composite gained 1.8 percent to close at a six-week high. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland firms listed in Hong Kong advanced 1.3 percent. The benchmark Hang Seng Index added 0.3 percent.

China reported credit data today, with aggregate financing coming in at 1.35 trillion yuan ($215.5 billion) for February, beating estimates for 1 trillion yuan. The data suggest monetary easing is spurring demand for loans. Brokerages from Barclays Plc to Nomura Holdings Inc. are predicting faster cuts to China interest rates and reserve requirement ratios after data yesterday showed industrial output posted its weakest start to a year since 2009.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.3 percent after a 0.2 percent drop on Wednesday as consumer and technology companies slid.

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