Asia Stocks Rise for First Time in Three Days as Fed Bets Recede

Asian stocks climbed, with the regional benchmark index heading for its first advance in three days, as bets that the U.S. will keep interest rates lower for longer spurred demand for riskier assets.

Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. jumped 11 percent in Hong Kong after the Macau casino operator reported third-quarter profit increased from the previous three months. China Mobile Ltd., the world’s largest mobile phone carrier, climbed 2.9 percent in Hong Kong after the Chinese government said it’s reorganizing the wireless industry by merging $36 billion of network assets owned by the top three operators. Asciano Ltd., an Australian port and rail operator, dropped 7.6 percent in Sydney as a proposed takeover by Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management Inc. comes under threat amid competition concerns.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 2.1 percent to 134.21 at 4:01 p.m. in Hong Kong. The gauge slipped in the past two days after softer data on Chinese imports and factory-gate prices underscored the headwinds facing the world’s second-largest economy. Investors are ignoring hawkish commentary from some Fed members and now don’t see better-than-even odds of rates increasing until April next year, with the chance of liftoff this month plunging to 4 percent and December probability falling to 27 percent.

“The third-quarter selloff created a lot of value, so people are getting involved again,” said Tim Condon, head of Asia research at ING Groep NV in Singapore. “Data out of the U.S. is reinforcing that U.S. monetary policy isn’t a threat and that helps market sentiment. China’s policy remains accommodative.”

China Reforms

The Shanghai Composite Index jumped 2.3 percent to the highest close since Aug. 21 after the government’s move to reorganize the telecom industry raised speculation policy makers will accelerate reforms of state-owned companies to stem slowing economic growth. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland stocks in Hong Kong climbed 2.1 percent, while the city’s benchmark Hang Seng Index advanced 2 percent.

“The economy is slowing down and a clear, but challenging, way of supporting the economy would be to speed up SOE reform,” said Gerry Alfonso, a sales trader at Shenwan Hongyuan Group Co. in Shanghai. “SOE reform remains one of the most solid investment themes.”

Japan’s Topix index rose 1.4 percent, reversing earlier losses of as much as 0.6 percent. Taiwan’s Taiex index and New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 Index climbed 0.9 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.6 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index rose 0.9 percent.

Rate Pause

South Korea’s Kospi index climbed 1.2 percent after the nation’s central bank kept its key interest rate unchanged for a fourth month as it weighs a pickup in domestic activity against a continued slump in exports.

E-mini futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.6 percent. The underlying gauge fell 0.5 percent on Wednesday as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. predicted earnings will decline next year and quarterly results from JPMorgan Chase & Co. disappointed.

Oil declined for a fourth day, heading for its longest losing streak since July, as U.S. industry data showed crude stockpiles increased in the world’s biggest consumer.

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