Asian Stocks Rise Second Day Before Yellen Speech; Lenovo Jumps

Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index heading for a second day of advances, as investors awaited speeches later today by Federal Reserve officials, including Chair Janet Yellen, for clues on whether policy makers will raise rates next month.

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. gained 1.6 percent in Sydney after UBS AG raised its rating to buy, pacing gains among finance companies. Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. climbed 14 percent in Hong Kong after Daiwa Securities Group Inc. upgraded the stock to outperform on expectations new chip orders will boost earnings over the next three years. Lenovo Group Ltd. jumped 5.8 percent after the Chinese computer maker reported a narrower quarterly loss than expected. DeNA Co. a social-website operator that’s working with Nintendo Co. on smartphone games, lost 2.2 percent in Tokyo after forecasting third-quarter profit below analyst estimates.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.4 percent to 133.63 as of 4:19 p.m. in Hong Kong. With U.S. data and policy makers signaling the world’s biggest economy may be strong enough to withstand higher rates, investors are monitoring figures from overseas to gauge whether there are any threats to growth that may still concern the Federal Reserve. Reports Wednesday showed Chinese factory output growth continued to weaken in October, suggesting monetary and fiscal easing have yet to spur any notable acceleration in growth.

“Divergence in monetary policy is creating an even choppier investment environment,” Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist in Sydney at CMC Markets Plc, said by phone. “The futures market is indicating that it’s more likely than not that we’ll see the Fed raise rates in December. Expectations of further easing in China are high because there’s been a demonstrated responsiveness among policy makers to the weakening economy.”

Fed Liftoff

The odds the Federal Reserve will raise rates at its December meeting have risen to 68 percent from 39 percent a month ago.

New Zealand’s S&P NZX 50 Index added 0.2 percent, as did Taiwan’s Taiex index. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.1 percent. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland stocks traded in Hong Kong climbed 1.6 percent, while the city’s benchmark Hang Seng Index jumped 2.4 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.5 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index dropped 0.6 percent.

Topix index lost 0.1 percent, slipping from the highest level in more than 11 weeks, as investors weighed earnings from DeNA Co. and Toppan Printing Co. and banks fell ahead of results announcement.

“Japanese markets have been pushed to the limit as well as U.S. stocks,” said Mitsushige Akino, executive officer at Ichiyoshi Asset Management Co. in Tokyo. “We haven’t had bullish factors to lift markets at the moment.”

E-mini futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index advanced 0.2 percent on Thursday. The underlying measure’s drop on Wednesday came amid a selloff in retail shares as Macy’s Inc. missed its third-quarter sales estimates and cut its annual profit forecast.

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