Asian Stocks Rise as Weak Yen Lifts Topix, Energy Shares Rally

  • Topix jumps to four-month high as yen drops for eighth day
  • Kospi rises as Samsung Electronics climbs to all-time high

Is It a Good Time to Be in Emerging Markets?

Asian stocks rose as Japanese shares climbed after the yen declined and an overnight gain in crude oil drove a gauge of energy producers to the highest level in more than a year.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.4 percent to 140.85 as of 4:10 p.m. in Hong Kong, as a measure of energy stocks jumped the most among 11 industry groups. Japan’s Topix index closed at a four-month high after the yen weakened against the dollar for an eighth day, as bets increased that the Federal Reserve will tighten policy this year as a pickup in U.S. services activity added to signs the world’s biggest economy is gaining momentum.

“Data has been consistent with the Fed moving in December,” said Chris Green, the Auckland-based director of economics and strategy at First NZ Capital Group Ltd. “The rebound in crude oil adds to the positive backdrop for inflation and that could provide a rationale for the rates to move as well. The Fed has a delicate balancing act. They’d want to normalize rates as the economy improves but at the same time they don’t want to scare the financial system.”

U.S. equities advanced Wednesday after reports showing acceleration in the manufacturing and services sectors. Figures showed factory and durable-goods orders accelerated modestly in August, while American service companies expanded in September at the fastest rate in almost a year. Key jobs numbers at the end of the week could also bolster bets for higher borrowing costs, with the data forecast to show a pickup in hiring.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index increased 0.7 percent, extending gains for a fourth day in its longest winning streak in a month, as energy producers rallied amid optimism that higher oil prices will boost earnings. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland shares traded in Hong Kong advanced 1.4 percent. Markets in the mainland remain shut for a week-long holiday.

South Korea’s Kospi index climbed 0.6 percent. Samsung Electronics Co., the nation’s biggest conglomerate by market value, jumped 4.5 percent to a record as the smartphone maker was urged by activist investor Elliott Management Corp. to restructure its business and pay a special dividend.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.6 percent, Taiwan’s Taiex index added 0.1 percent and Thailand’s SET Index added 0.3 percent. India’s S&P BSE Sensex slipped 0.1 percent, its second day of declines. Equity gauges in Singapore and Malaysia climbed at least 0.2 percent. New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 Index dropped 1 percent, while the Philippine Stock Exchange Index lost 0.3 percent.

Cnooc Ltd. and PetroChina Co. rose at least 3.9 percent in Hong Kong, pacing gains among energy producers, as crude oil traded near $50 a barrel. Fujitsu Ltd. surged 5.7 percent in Tokyo after a person familiar with the situation said the company is in talks with Lenovo Group Ltd. to sell a majority stake in its personal-computer business. Sompo Holdings Inc. jumped 6.5 percent after the insurer said it has agreed to buy Bermuda-based Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd. for about $6.3 billion in a bid to expand its business overseas.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index were little changed. The U.S. equity benchmark index gained 0.4 percent on Wednesday, halting a two-day slide.

Oil halted gains below $50 a barrel as investors weighed falling U.S. stockpiles against speculation the recent price rally will encourage producers to raise output. West Texas Intermediate crude futures slipped 0.7 percent in Thursday trading after gaining 2.3 percent Wednesday.

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