Singapore/Tokyo: Asian stocks rose after earnings reports from U.S. companies boosted confidence in the global economy and helped drive the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a record. Toyota Motor Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. advanced.
“The better-than-expected corporate earnings announcements as a whole gave relief to investors,’’ said Soichiro Monji, who helps oversee about $47 billion (Rs1,95,858 crore) at Daiwa SB Investments Ltd in Tokyo.
BHP Billiton Ltd led shares of mining companies higher following gains in metals prices. Inpex Holdings Inc., Japan’s largest oil explorer, advanced as crude oil rose by the most in a week in New York.
The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index added 0.7% to 148.54 as of 9:48 am in Tokyo, with all 10 of its industry groups climbing. Benchmarks gained across the region, with Australia and South Korea both set for new highs.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average added 1 percent to 17,622.81, set for its biggest advance in a week. Nippon Steel Corp. and JFE Holdings Inc., the nation’s two largest steelmakers, rose after the Nikkei said their pretax profits may rise to records.
Toyota, Japan’s largest automaker, added 1.2% to 7,470 yen. The company generated more than a third of its fiscal 2006 revenue in North America. Samsung, which accounted for about 16% of South Korean exports last year, advanced 1.4% to 581,000 won.
Shares in the U.S. climbed on 20 April after earnings from companies including Caterpillar Inc. and American Express Co. topped estimates. The Dow Jones average rose 1.2%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.9%.
Caterpillar, the world’s largest maker of earthmoving equipment, said profit last quarter was $816 million, more than the average estimate of $736.1 million in a Bloomberg survey of five analysts. American Express, the No. 4 U.S. credit-card issuer, said earnings rose 21% to a record $1.1 billion, exceeding the $973 million forecast by analysts.
About 67% of companies in the S&P 500 that reported quarterly results topped analysts’ estimates, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In the fourth quarter, about 61% of S&P 500 members beat estimates.
“The U.S. market has reached record levels, suggesting global stock markets could stabilize,’’ said Kim Hyung Chan, who manages $630 million at KTB Asset Management Co. in Seoul. “That’s making investors feel more comfortable buying stocks.’’
Westfield Group, which owns 59 malls in the U.S., added 0.9% to A$21.61. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world’s biggest customized-chip maker, rose 1.2% to Nt$48.30.
A measure of six metals traded on the London Metal Exchange gained 1.5%. Copper gained for 1.8%, lead added 2.5% and zinc increased 2.3%.
BHP Billiton, the world’s biggest mining company, gained 0.7% to A$30.07. Rio Tinto Group, the third largest, climbed 0.7% to A$84. Nippon Mining Holdings Inc., Japan’s biggest copper producer, rose 0.4% to 977 yen.
Crude oil for May delivery rose 2.5% on 20 April to settle at $63.38 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange amid concern a presidential election in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest producer, may cause disruption to shipments. June futures were recently at $63.98.
Inpex added 1.8% to 983,000 yen. Woodside Petroleum Ltd, the largest oil producer in Australia after BHP, gained 1% to A$39.52, while Santos Ltd, Australia’s third largest, rose 1.4% to A$11.25.
Nippon Steel climbed 1.3% to 779 yen. Nippon Steel’s profit for the year ending 31 March may be 2% above estimates at a record 600 billion yen ($5.1 billion), the Nikkei newspaper said.
JFE may also increase its pretax profit by 2% to about 520 billion yen, the Nikkei said, without saying where it got the information. It will probably increase its dividend for the fiscal half year ending 30 September by 10 yen to 60 yen, the report also said. The stock jumped 3.1% to 6,670 yen.
Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd, Japan’s third-largest steelmaker, climbed 1.7% to 610 yen. Posco, the world’s fourth-largest steelmaker, added 1.9% to 381,000 won.