Singapore: Asian stocks rose, driving the regional benchmark index to its highest level in three weeks, as rivals of Nokia Oyj gained after the mobile-phone maker lowered its sales and profit forecasts.
HTC Corp., a Taiwanese maker of smartphones using Google Inc.’s Android and Microsoft operating systems, advanced 2.1% in Taipei. LG Electronics Inc., the world’s third largest mobile phone maker, gained 1.3% in Seoul. Tokyo Electric Power Co. Inc., owner of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant at the center of the worst nuclear accident in 25 years, slumped 5.7% in Tokyo after Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch unit said the utility’s future as a listed company is uncertain.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.2% to 136.62 as of 7.14pm in Tokyo, heading for its highest close since 11 May. About the same number of stocks rose and fell on the 1,016-company gauge, which last week completed its longest streak of weekly losses in two years as concern deepened over Europe’s debt crisis and amid speculations that a slowing global recovery will crimp earnings.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was little changed after a report showed the country’s economy shrank in the first quarter by the most in 20 years after flooded coal mines, railways and farmland hurt exports. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average increased 0.3%. Taiwan’s Taiex Index rose 0.8%.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropped 0.2%. China’s Shanghai Composite Index was little changed, erasing losses of as much as 0.6%, after a report showed the nation’s manufacturing expanded in May at the slowest pace in nine months as the government extended a campaign to cool inflation and the property market.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 1% this year through Tuesday, compared with gains of 7% by the S&P 500 and 1.8% by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 13.6 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.6 times for the S&P 500 and 11.2 times for the Stoxx 600.
A gauge of information technology companies posted the biggest advance among the 10 industry groups in the MSCI Asia Pacific Index. All but two of the sub-indexes advanced.
Nokia’s rivals rallied after the manufacturer said mobile phone sales will substantially fall short of its projected range this quarter as it lost market share to Apple Inc.’s iPhone and Google’s Android, the fastest growing smartphone platform.
HTC increased 2.1% to NT$1,245 in Taipei. Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., which manufactures iPhones and iPads, gained 1.5% to NT$102. LG Electronics increased 1.3% to 98,500 won in Seoul. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, the world’s second biggest maker of mobile phones by sales, added 1% to 911,000 won.
RHB Capital Bhd, Malaysia’s fifth biggest bank by assets, jumped 7.4% to 9.9 ringgit, its biggest advance since November 2008.
Norie Kuboyama in Tokyo contributed to this story.