Asian Stocks Rally as Kospi Approaches Record on Foreign Buying

  • South Korea’s Kospi breaks out of six-year trading range
  • Japan’s Topix Index boosted by automakers as yen declines

Asian stocks rallied to a fresh 22-month high as Japanese stocks advanced for a second day, while South Korea’s Kospi index fell short of topping its record close six years ago.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index extended last week’s gains, rising 0.4 percent to 150.04 as of 4:15 p.m. in Hong Kong after most markets reopened after the May Day holiday. That’s the highest intraday level since June 2015. Yamaha Corp. the top performer on the gauge, rose 17 percent after forecasting record operating profit. In Hong Kong, footwear retailer Belle International Holdings Ltd. closed 15 percent higher after getting a $6.8 billion buyout offer.

Most markets across Asia rose, following U.S. stocks, where the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index rose to a new record amid optimism over corporate profits. The yen weakened against the dollar for a fourth straight session and Japan’s Topix rose 0.7 percent. South Korea’s Kospi Index, which retreated after touching its record close in May 2011, has climbed 9.5 percent this year as foreigners snapped up $5.8 billion of shares.

“Positive leads from Wall Street look set to power Asian markets at the start of the week,” Jingyi Pan, Singapore-based market strategist for IG Asia, said in an email.

Japan’s Topix Index rose to the highest level in six weeks as investors bet on positive earnings reports for next week. The yen slid for a fourth straight day while financial markets in Tokyo will be closed from Wednesday for national holidays and reopen on Monday. 

Stocks were lower in Shanghai as Caixin Media and Markit Economics said its manufacturing purchasing managers’ index slipped to 50.3 in April, the lowest since September. In Australia, shares pared losses as the country’s central bank left rates at record low, and signaled faster inflation and highlighted an upswing in global growth.

Summary

  • South Korea’s Kospi +0.7%
  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 -0.1%
  • Shanghai Composite Index -0.4%
    • Hang Seng Index +0.3%; Hang Seng China Enterprises Index -0.5%
    • Taiwan’s Taiex +0.7%
  • Singapore’s Straits Times Index +1%; Malaysia’s KLCI Index +0.6%; Jakarta Composite -0.1%; Philippine Composite Index +0.6%
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