Asian Stocks Join Global Advance as ECB Signals Stimulus Boost

  • Draghi says will examine bond-buying program in December
  • Google, Amazon surge in after-hours trading in New York

Asian stocks rose, joining a global equities rally, after the European Central Bank signaled it may boost stimulus this year.

Stoxx Europe 600 Index surges on ECB

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 1.8 percent to 136.27 at 4:08 p.m. in Hong Kong. The MSCI All-Country World Index of developed and emerging-market shares surged to a two-month high on Thursday after ECB President Mario Draghi said policymakers will re-examine the degree of stimulus in December, adding that the quantitative-easing program will continue until beyond September 2016 if needed.

“Investors interpreted this as meaning a greatly increased chance of more policy support,” said Matthew Sherwood, head of investment strategy at Perpetual Ltd. in Sydney, which manages about $21 billion. “The good thing for central banks is that they have most investors so hooked on the stimulus drug that all they have to do is boost supply and the patient will be happy again.”

All 10 industry groups on the Asia Pacific index climbed, led by consumer staples and financial firms. The measure advanced 1.3 percent this week, a fourth weekly advance, bringing its October rally to 10 percent. The index is down 1.2 percent this year.

Japan’s Topix index climbed 2 percent as Nomura Holdings Co., the country’s biggest brokerage, surged 3.7 percent. Cosmetics company Kose Corp. added 4.3 percent in Tokyo after reporting preliminary profit that beat its forecast.

China Plenum

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 1.7 percent. Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. joined its three main competitors in raising its benchmark variable mortgage rate as Australian lenders seek to cover the cost of holding more capital. ANZ shares rose 1.1 percent.

Drillsearch Energy Ltd. surged 26 percent in Sydney after Beach Energy Ltd. agreed to pay A$384 million ($277 million) in stock to acquire Drillsearch to increase its exposure to energy assets in Australia’s Cooper Basin.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 1.3 percent and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index advanced 1.3 percent to the highest close since Aug. 18. The Shanghai Composite Index added 1.3 percent, capping a third weekly increase, amid speculation the government will take more measures to bolster the economy before a top-level Communist Party meeting starts next week.

Plenum topics will include accelerating state-sector reforms and redoubling efforts to reduce pollution, according to Bloomberg economists Fielding Chen and Tom Orlik. Further measures to push the “One Belt, One Road” strategy forward, personnel changes and comments on anti-corruption are among the key things to watch out for at the meeting, said Nathan Chow, an economist at DBS Bank Hong Kong Ltd.

Alphabet Earnings

South Korea’s Kospi index, Taiwan’s Taiex Index and New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 Index all added 0.8 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times advanced 1.1 percent and India’s S&P BSE Sensex Index rose 0.8 percent.

E-mini futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.5 percent since the close of cash-market trading on Thursday. The underlying gauge advanced 1.7 percent Thursday.

After the market closed, Google parent Alphabet Inc. reported better-than-projected earnings amid stronger ad sales and while keeping expenses under control. It soared in extended trading, as did Inc. after the Internet commerce company’s quarterly sales topped analysts’ estimates.

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