Singapore/Tokyo: Asian stocks rose, paced by Nippon Steel Corp. on speculation Arcelor Mittal may offer to buy U.S.-based AK Steel Corp.
The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index advanced 0.2% to 149.37 at 11:20 am in Tokyo, after earlier dropping as much as 0.2%. The measure yesterday slid 0.2% after rising to a record on 7 May.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Stock Average was little changed while the broader Topix index rose 0.1%. Softbank Corp., the owner of the nation’s third-largest wireless operator, fell after profit last quarter tumbled 83%.
Nippon Steel, Asia’s biggest steelmaker, climbed 0.9% to 865 yen (Rs293). Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd, Japan’s third-largest steelmaker, climbed 2.2% to 648 yen. Posco, Asia’s fourth largest, added 0.6% to 408,500 won.
Shares of AK Steel, the No. 3 U.S. steelmaker, jumped 9.2% yesterday after the Financial Times said that Arcelor Mittal, the world’s largest, may offer about $4.5 billion for the company.
Rising demand spurred a record $78 billion of mergers and acquisitions last year in the steel industry, including Mittal Steel Co.’s $38.3 billion takeover of Arcelor SA.
Dongkuk Steel Mill Co., South Korea’s third-largest steelmaker, rose 1.6% to 29,150 won. Dongkuk may raise prices for ship plates by 5% to 10% on strong demand for ships and tight supply of plates, Son Yong Suk, a Seoul-based analyst at UBS, said in a report today.
Softbank lost 2.9% to 2,620 yen. Net profit fell to 6.88 billion yen ($57.4 million) from 39.7 billion yen a year earlier as taxes increased, the company said yesterday after the close of trading.
Tokyo-based analysts Makio Inui and Kei Takahashi at UBS Securities Japan Ltd cut their rating on the stock to “reduce 2’’ from “neutral 2.’’
Singapore Telecommunications Ltd, Southeast Asia’s largest phone company, dropped 2.3% to S$3.34 as the company said today that net income in the fourth quarter ended 31 March fell 41% from a year earlier to S$989 million ($652 million). That’s its first profit decline in two years.