Tokyo: Asian stocks advanced for the first time in three days, led by Toyota Motor Corp., after the U.S. unemployment rate unexpectedly dropped, easing concern demand will slow in the world’s biggest economy.
“The employment data was good news for exporters because it provided evidence that the fundamentals of the U.S. economy are stable,’’ said Hideyuki Ookoshi, who oversees $365 million (Rs1,556 crore) at Chiba-Gin Asset Management Co. in Tokyo.
Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co. gained after the value of South Korean developers’ overseas contracts jumped 43% in the first quarter. Taiwan’s Bank of Overseas Chinese climbed after Citigroup Inc. agreed to buy the lender.
The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index added 0.3% to 146.73 at 10.46 am in Tokyo. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average advanced 1.3%. All markets open for trading gained. Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines are closed for holidays.
Toyota, the world’s largest automaker by value, rose 1.4% to 7,500 yen. Sony Corp., the maker of the PlayStation 3 game console, jumped 2.3% to 6,340 yen. Toyota generated more than a third of its fiscal 2006 revenue in North America while Sony made 70% of its sales overseas last year.
U.S. unemployment fell to 4.4% last month, the Labour Department said on 6 April, matching a five-year low in October. The median estimate of 73 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a 4.6 percent climb, from 4.5 percent. Some 180,000 new jobs were created in March, more than the forecast 130,000 rise.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world’s biggest supplier of made-to-order chips, gained 0.3% to NT$69.50. Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd, the third-largest custom chip maker, climbed 1.4% to S$1.46 in Singapore.
Japanese stocks also gained after the yen weakened against the dollar and the euro, increasing the value of overseas sales when converted back into yen.
Komatsu Ltd, the world’s second-largest maker of construction machinery, climbed 2.2% to 2,520 yen.
The yen weakened to 119.26 against the dollar in New York on 6 April, the lowest since 26 February. Japan’s currency fell to a record intra-day low of 159.69 versus the euro. The yen recently changed hands at 119.37 per dollar and 159.61 to the euro.
“If the yen continues to trade around its current level that will be positive for companies here,’’ said Chiba-Gin Asset Management’s Ookoshi.
Doosan, Overseas Chinese
Doosan Heavy, South Korea’s largest power generator maker, climbed 4.3% to 70,700 won. Daewoo Engineering & Construction Co., the country’s biggest builder by market value, rose 2.9% to 19,400 won.
South Korean construction companies had $8.98 billion in overseas orders in the first quarter, a 43% jump from the previous year, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said yesterday. Orders from the Middle East tripled to $5.41 billion, while contracts from Asian countries rose 67% to $1.12 billion.
Bank of Overseas Chinese, which has 55 branches in Taiwan, jumped 1.3% to NT$11.40. Citigroup agreed to buy the lender for NT$14.1 billion ($426 million), or NT$11.8 per share, said Shannon Pu, a spokeswoman for the New York-based bank.
Pentax Corp. surged 5.5% to 772 yen. Hoya Corp., Japan’s largest optical glassmaker said on 6 April it offered to pay about 770 yen for each share of Pentax, an increase from an earlier offer valued at about 648 yen a share. Meanwhile, some board members at the camera maker opposed a merger agreement with Hoya, Pentax said yesterday. Hoya fell 0.2% to 4,090 yen.