Asian Stocks Advance as Japan Climbs on Export Data, China Jumps

Asian stocks rose as Chinese equities extended their world-beating rally and better-than-expected export data and a weaker yen boosted Japanese shares.

China’s CSI 300 Index rallied above the 5,000 level for the first time in seven years amid speculation the government will accelerate measures to bolster the economy and cross-border sales of mutual funds will fuel equity inflows. Toyota Motor Corp. was the biggest boost to Japan’s Topix index as government figures showed vehicles were the largest contributor to April’s gain in exports.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.2 percent to 153.70 as of 4:39 p.m. in Tokyo. The Shanghai Composite Index surged 3.4 percent. The Topix climbed as the value of Japan’s overseas shipments rose 8 percent from a year earlier, compared with the median estimate for a 6 percent increase. The yen slid on Friday on firming U.S. price data and comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen that raising interest rates this year would be “appropriate.”

“Inflation is speeding up in the U.S., and we can see the intention to raise rates sometime this year,” said Shoji Hirakawa, chief equity strategist at Okasan Securities Co. in Tokyo. “Japan’s rate increases and tapering will be further in the future, so it’s likely the yen will continue to weaken.”

Yellen’s comments followed a report showing the U.S. cost of living, excluding what households pay for food and fuel, climbed more than forecast last month. The core consumer-price index rose 0.3 percent in April, the biggest gain since January 2013, a Labor Department report showed Friday.

Japan Climbs

The Topix added 0.7 percent, extending a seven-year high. Shares briefly pared gains in the afternoon as an earthquake shook buildings in Tokyo. Imports slid 4.2 percent, leaving a 53.4 billion yen ($439 million) trade deficit. Exports exceeded imports in March for the first time in almost three years.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 1 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index gained 0.3 percent. E-mini futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped 0.1 percent. Cash-equity markets in Hong Kong, South Korea, the U.K. and the U.S. are closed today.

The CSI 300, representing the largest stocks in Shanghai and Shenzhen, jumped 3 percent. The index rallied 7.2 percent last week after the State Council announced its “Made in China 2025” plan aimed at making selective manufacturing industries more globally competitive. The CSI 300 has advanced 44 percent this year, lagging behind the 136 percent surge in the ChiNext index of small-cap shares.

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