Asian Stocks Gain as Oil Explorers Rise With Crude After Debate

  • Japan’s Topix rises to highest in almost five months
  • Gauge of oil explorers has biggest advance on Asia benchmark

Hewin: A Trump Presidency Could Build Trade Barriers

Asian stocks rose for a third day after the final U.S. presidential debate as oil’s jump to a 15-month high boosted energy producers and a weaker yen drove Japanese shares higher.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.3 percent to 140.46 as of 4:10 p.m. in Hong Kong, with futures on the S&P 500 Index rising 0.1 percent after Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump went head-to-head for the third time before the Nov. 8 election. A Bloomberg Politics national poll showed a nine-point lead for Clinton before the debate. The gauge posted its biggest two-day increase in almost a month on Wednesday after data out of China showed Asia’s largest economy remained stable in the third quarter and speculation grew the Federal Reserve will stick to a gradual tightening of monetary policy.

“The rally in crude oil overnight is helping to boost equities,” Margaret Yang, an analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore, said by phone after the debate ended. “Investors appear to be pricing in a Clinton victory. While both candidates seem to have equally done well in the final debate, the market likes Clinton’s widening lead over Trump in the surveys.”

Mexico’s peso touched a six-week high after the debate, signaling traders saw nothing in the matchup that changed their perception of who is likely to win the election. The currency has been sensitive to Trump’s fortunes because he’s proposed renegotiating or ending trade deals with Mexico and blocking remittances to force the country to pay for a wall along the U.S. border. A CNN/ORC poll of debate watchers showed 52 percent judged Clinton the winner, compared with 39 percent for Trump.

Oil Explorers

A gauge of oil explorers had the biggest advance among industry groups in the MSCI Asia Pacific Index after government data showed U.S. crude stockpiles unexpectedly declined last week, trimming an overhang of inventories. China’s Cnooc Ltd., Santos Ltd. in Australia and South Korea’s SK Innovation Co. were among shares that climbed.

Oil held close to a 15-month high. Futures slid 0.8 percent in New York after advancing 2.6 percent Wednesday to settle at the highest since July 2015.

Japan’s Topix index jumped 1 percent, rising for a fifth day and closing at its highest level since May 31. The yen slipped 0.3 percent against the dollar, paring a 0.7 percent increase over the past three sessions.

Indonesia Rates

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was up 0.1 percent. The country unexpectedly cut jobs in September, representing a blow to policy makers who’ve been making progress in supporting an expansion and encouraging hiring via record-low rates and subdued wage growth.

Indonesia’s Jakarta Composite Index slipped 0.1 percent before an interest-rate decision. A majority of the economists surveyed by Bloomberg predicted policy makers won’t lower borrowing costs.

The European Central Bank is seen leaving policy unchanged at Thursday’s review, with investors looking for signals regarding the outlook for its quantitative-easing program.

India’s S&P BSE Sensex index climbed 0.6 percent, heading for a two-week high. Taiwan’s Taiex index added 0.4 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.3 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite Index was little changed. New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 Index fell less than 0.1 percent.

GungHo Surges

South Korea’s Kospi index slipped less than 0.1 percent, erasing earlier gains, after reports that North Korea may have fired a mid-range Musudan missile early Thursday. The missile appeared to have failed after launch, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a text message.

GungHo Online Entertainment Inc. surged 17 percent in Tokyo, leading gains on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index, after the Japanese game maker released details of upcoming smartphone title Seventh Rebirth. Sharp Corp. climbed 7.7 percent after jumping 11 percent on Wednesday after the company said it anticipates full-year operating profit and net income to improve “improve drastically.” Yuanta Financial Holding Co. rose 3.5 percent in Taipei after Morgan Stanley upgraded its rating on the Taiwanese brokerage to overweight.

The S&P 500 rose 0.2 percent on Wednesday as energy producers rallied and banks gained amid better-than forecast earnings.

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