Asia Stocks Track U.S. Gains as Traders Refocus on Economics

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  • Kospi jumps as best performer among regional benchmarks
  • Automakers, electronics companies lead rally in Tokyo

Asian stocks climbed, led by South Korea’s benchmark gauge, as investors turned their focus away from Pyongyang.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 0.3 percent to 160.61 as of 5:01 p.m. in Hong Kong, with most regional benchmarks up. The Kospi rose 1.1 percent as the region’s best performer, while Japan’s Topix added 0.4 percent on the back of automakers and machinery companies. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed 0.3 percent lower after reversing a 0.7 percent gain.

Investors are taking a breather from geopolitical tensions -- even as South Korea warned its neighbor may launch another missile this weekend -- and refocusing on economic fundamentals. U.S. stocks pushed higher overnight following a deal to extend the country’s debt limit and dovish comments from Federal Reserve officials.

“The Fed is appearing more dovish on a lack of inflation, while China’s slowdown seems much less severe than expected,” said Hao Hong, chief strategist at Bocom International Holdings Co. in Hong Kong. “Most people believe a war is unlikely and the focus is back on economic growth.”

Samsung Electronics Co. advanced 2.4 percent, today’s biggest boost to the regional technology sub-gauge that’s added 41 percent so far this year. S&P Dow Jones Indices said Asia’s largest technology company will be added to the Dow Jones Sustainability Investing World Index as of September 18.

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