Singapore: Asian stocks rose, sending the MSCI Asia Pacific Index to its second weekly advance in three weeks, as better-than-estimated earnings at Harvey Norman Holdings Ltd and Dell Inc. added to signs that the global economy is recovering.
Harvey Norman surged 17%. Acer Inc. climbed 3.5% on brokerage upgrades. Casio Computer Co. Ltd, the maker of digital cameras and mobile phones, rose 8.5% in Tokyo, as the Daily Yomiuri newspaper said the firm is merging its mobile phone business with NEC Corp. and Hitachi Ltd. Japanese equities rose before election polls suggested the ruling coalition’s 50-year hold on power would end.
“Risk appetite has recovered from the depths that we had in March and people are looking at fundamentals,” said Prasad Patkar, who helps manage about $1.1 billion (Rs5,379 crore) at Platypus Asset Management Pty Ltd in Sydney. “Confidence is there for the right reasons. Economies are stabilizing and things are starting to normalize.”
Climbing up: A file photo of the electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Japan. The Nikkei 225 stock average gained 0.6%, taking its weekly advance to 2.9%, the most in a month. Itsuo Inouye / AP
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 0.6% to 113.65 as of 7.30pm in Tokyo, taking its gain this week to 2.8%. The gauge has climbed 61% from an at least five-year low on 9 March on speculation that government stimulus packages and lower borrowing costs will revive the global economy.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average gained 0.6%, taking its weekly advance to 2.9%, the most in a month. The country holds parliamentary elections on 30 August, in which the opposition Democratic Party of Japan is expected to win by a landslide, newspaper polls show. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party has governed Japan for all but 10 months since 1955.
Inpex Corp., Japan’s largest oil explorer, gained 1.9%, leading gains among commodity shares on higher oil and copper prices. BOC Hong Kong (Holdings) Ltd, Hong Kong’s second largest publicly traded bank by market value, climbed 5.8% on better-than-estimated profit.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.9%, while Taiwan’s Taiex climbed 1.8%. China’s Shanghai Composite Index dropped 2.9% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.7% on concern that Chinese measures to curb lending and overcapacity will slow economic growth.
China Cosco Holdings Co. Ltd, Asia’s biggest shipping company by market value, sank 4.7% in Shanghai after posting a first-half loss. Futures on the US Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.4%. The gauge rose 0.3% on Thursday as oil futures climbed for the first time in three days with a 1.5% gain. Separately, a commerce department report showed the US economy contracted at a 1% annual rate from April to June, less than the 1.5% contraction estimated by economists.
Signs the global recovery is gaining traction has fuelled MSCI Asia Pacific Index’s rally since March. Malaysia’s gross domestic product shrank less than estimated in the three months to 30 June, data released on 26 August shows. The Philippine economy expanded in the second quarter at three times the pace expected by economists, the government reported on Thursday.
In Sydney, Harvey Norman surged 17% to A$3.74, the most in at least 20 years.
Some 34% of the 591 companies in the MSCI Asia Pacific Index that have reported net income since early July have beaten analyst estimates, while about 20% have missed, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
BOC Hong Kong advanced 5.8% to HK$16. The bank said on Thursday that first-half profit fell 5.6% to HK$6.69 billion ($863 million). That topped the HK$4.49 billion average estimate of four analysts surveyed by Bloomberg
Acer climbed 3.5% to NT$73.3. HSBC Holdings Plc. upgraded the stock to neutral from underweight and Goldman Sachs raised its share-price estimate by 19% to NT$74. Dell reported second-quarter sales and profit that beat estimates after the firm cut manufacturing costs and attracting buyers with low-priced notebooks. Dell suppliers in Taiwan gained. Quanta Computer Inc., the world’s largest laptop maker, climbed 2.7% to NT$69.1. Compal Electronics Inc., the world’s second largest laptop maker, advanced 2.2% to NT$32.70.
“Dell is a big player and its revenue beat estimates, meaning there’s demand,” said Calvin Huang, an analyst at Daiwa Institute of Research Ltd. “This will also raise sentiment for Asian techs, as it shows the economy is not worsening and there are people buying tech products.”
Higher oil drove Inpex up by 1.9% to 749,000 yen in Tokyo. Woodside Petroleum Ltd, Australia’s second largest oil producer, added 1.8% to A$49.70 in Sydney. BHP Billiton Ltd, the world’s biggest mining company, added 0.5% to A$37.85. Copper for September delivery in New York increased 2.5% in after-hours trading.
“Investors are putting their money in risk assets such as oil and stocks,” said Kiichi Fujita, a strategist at Nomura Holdings Inc. in Tokyo.
Casio Computer surged 8.5% to 919 yen in Tokyo. Casio, NEC and Hitachi are in talks to merge their mobile phone businesses by April, the Daily Yomiuri reported. The venture would have at least 20% of Japan’s mobile phone market, the newspaper said.
NEC added 0.6% to 333 yen. Hitachi gained 1.6% to 327 yen.
In Shanghai, China Cosco sank 4.7% to 13.68 yuan. The company said it may cancel container vessel orders after reporting a first-half net loss.
Masaki Kondo and Toshiro Hasegawa in Tokyo contributed to this story.