Singapore/Wellington: Asian stocks rose the most in a week as higher crude oil and metals prices drove commodity producers’ shares higher and companies including Honda Motor Co. reported improved earnings.
BHP Billiton Ltd, the world’s biggest mining company and Australia’s largest oil explorer, advanced for a fourth day. Baoshan Iron & Steel Co., China’s No. 1 producer of the alloy, led steelmakers higher after announcing profit more than doubled, while Honda was set for its biggest jump in three weeks after reporting earnings that beat analyst estimates.
Measures of materials and energy stocks posted the biggest gains among the Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia- Pacific Index’s 10 industry groups. Benchmarks rose across the region, with China’s CSI 300 Index and South Korea’s Kospi Index both climbing to records.
“The resource sector is mirroring the strength in commodities prices,’’ said Jason Teh, who helps manage about $4.3 billion (Rs17,458 crore) at Investors Mutual Ltd in Sydney. “The market’s still betting on the China growth story.’’
The MSCI climbed 0.6% to 147.68 as of 11 am in Tokyo, set for its biggest gain since a 1% rally on 18 April that lifted the index to a record. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 0.8% to 17,365.64, while the broader Topix added 0.5%.
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. led Taiwan stocks higher after Apple Inc., for whom the company makes iPods, said second- quarter profit rose 88% on demand for the media players and Macintosh computers.
U.S. stocks extended their biggest monthly rally in more than three years yesterday, pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average above 13,000 for the first time, after Being Co. and Amazon.com Inc. joined the growing pool of companies reporting earnings that beat analyst estimates.
BHP Billiton, the world’s largest mining company, added 0.9% to A$30.27. Rio Tinto Group, the second biggest, added 0.6% to A$84.27.
Copper for delivery in three months gained 0.5% to $7,860 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, while zinc added 0.5%. China, the world’s largest iron-ore buyer, may boost imports as much as 20 percent this year as demand rises, the head of the China Metallurgical Mining Enterprise Association said yesterday.
Korea Zinc Co., the world’s second-biggest smelter of the metal, added 1.4% to 147,500 won. First-quarter profit rose 81% from a year earlier to 116.4 billion won ($125 million), the company also said today.
Baoshan Iron & Steel said net income last quarter more than doubled from a year earlier to 3.68 billion yuan ($477 million) after prices increased as demand rose and the government reined in capacity expansion.
“For zinc, it looks likely that demand will exceed supply for the rest of the year,’’ said Jo Hyeon Jae, who helps manage $1.1 billion at CJ Asset Management Co. in Seoul. “The Baoshan earnings suggest a positive outlook for the steel industry, as the biggest concern had been a glut coming from China.’’
Posco, the world’s fourth-largest steelmaker, rose 3% to 409,500 won. JFE Holdings Inc., Japan’s second- largest, gained 0.9% to 6,500 yen.
Honda, Japan’s second-largest carmaker, gained 1.8% to 4,060 yen, set for its biggest gain since 4 April. Net income in the three months ended 31 March fell 20% from a year earlier to 176.2 billion yen ($1.48 billion), the company said yesterday after the close of trading. That was higher than the 141.1 billion yen average of 17 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Hon Hai, the world’s largest maker of electronics for other companies, jumped 1.8% to NT$222. Creative Technology Ltd, a maker of digital music players and supplier of iPod accessories, gained 0.5% to S$19.30.
After the close of U.S. trading, Cupertino, California- based Apple said second-quarter profit was 87 cents a share, exceeding the 63 cent-estimate by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. More than two-thirds of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index’s 230 members have reporting profits that topped analysts’ forecasts.