Sydney: Asian stocks advanced for a second day after falling oil prices and an unexpected increase in home sales boosted confidence in the outlook for the U.S. economy, the region’s biggest export market. Toyota Motor Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. led gains.
“Data yesterday from the U.S. provided a bit of relief in terms of the slowdown there,’’ said Taku Yamamoto, who helps oversee about $60 billion (Rs2,57,377 crore) at the Pension Fund Association in Tokyo.
Coles Group Ltd. jumped after Wesfarmers Ltd. and buyout firms led by Pacific Equity Partners offered A$19.7 billion ($16 billion) in a record takeover for an Australian company.
The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index gained 1.1% to 46.04 as of 10:43 am in Tokyo. All 10 industry groups advanced. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average climbed 1.5% to 17,504.89.
Indexes in South Korea, Singapore and Australia were set for record highs, while Taiwan’s Taiex is poised to recover all of its losses since a five-day global rout in equities that began in February. All other benchmarks in the region advanced.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose as the central bank refrained from raising interest rates to a decade high. Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Woolworths Ltd. led gains among stocks that rely on domestic demand. BHP Billiton led resources shares higher after copper prices climbed to a five- month high in New York.
U.S. stocks advanced yesterday after crude oil fell 2% to $64.64 a barrel, the biggest one-day decline since 9 March. Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors’ index of signed purchase agreements for existing homes in the U.S. climbed 0.7% last month, allaying concern a slump in housing could drag down the world’s largest economy.
Toyota, the No. 2 seller of automobiles in the U.S., gained 1.5% to 7,530 yen. Canon Inc., the world’s largest maker of digital cameras, jumped 2.6% to 6,430 yen. Honda Motor Co., which had 55% of its sales in North America last year, surged 2.4% to 4,250 yen.
Samsung Electronics, South Korea’s biggest exporter, rose 2.1% to 586,000 won. LG Electronics Inc., the second largest, added 0.5% to 63,600 won.
U.S.-linked building companies rose following the homes report. James Hardie Industries NV, the biggest supplier of home siding in the U.S., rose 2.7% to A$8.37. Rinker Group Ltd., the largest supplier of cement blocks in the U.S., climbed 0.6% to A$18.11.
Coles, Australia’s second-biggest retailer, jumped 5.2% to A$16.95. Wesfarmers, the nation’s biggest home- improvement retailer, is offering A$16.47 a share in cash or stock, the company said, or 8% more than a Kohlberg, Kravis Roberts & Co.-led bid that Coles rejected in October.
Shares of Coles are now above the price of Wesfarmers takeover offer on expectations it may not be enough to win support. Wesfarmers climbed 4.6% to A$38.60.
“There are no weak links in this market,’’ said Michael Birch, who helps manage A$160 million at Wallace Funds Management in Sydney. “Takeover deals show no sign of abating, and the central bank’s interest rate decision definitely took some of us by surprise.’’
Commonwealth Bank, Australia’s second-biggest lender, added 1% to A$50.81. Woolworths, the nation’s biggest retailer, rose 1.4% to A$27.63.
The Reserve Bank of Australia today kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a six-year high 6.25% as it awaits an inflation report later this month that economists say may force it to raise borrowing costs in May. Thirteen of 25 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News expected no change.
While the economists in Bloomberg’s survey were almost evenly split over today’s decision, currency and futures traders had expected an increase.
BHP, the world’s biggest mining company by market value and production, climbed 1.6% to A$30.56. Rio Tinto Group, the second-biggest by market value and third by production, rose 1.9 percent to A$80.37.
Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Japan’s largest nickel producer, added 1.1% to 2,220 yen. Korea Zinc Co., the world’s biggest smelter of the metal, advanced 3.5% to 104,000 won.
A measure of six metals traded on the London Metal Exchange, including copper and zinc, jumped 4.2 percent, the biggest gain since 13 February. Copper climbed 3.8% and nickel surged 6.6%. In New York copper jumped 4.3% to a five-month high.