By Chen Shiyin and Stuart Kelly/Bloomberg
Asian stocks rose for the first time in four days, led by BHP Billiton Ltd., as the price of copper gained and Rio Tinto Group and Zinifex Ltd. said metals demand is strong.
“The resources sector is one of our biggest overweight positions, and that’s likely to continue because the big picture hasn’t really changed,” said Shane Oliver, who helps oversee $83 billion at AMP Capital Investors in Sydney. “Demand in China and supply constraints are good for the sector.
A measure of energy-related shares posted the biggest gain among the Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index’s 10 industry groups, after UBS AG boosted its share-price forecast for South Korea’s SK Corp. and Goldman Sachs JBWere Pty raised its rating on Santos Ltd. JFE Holdings Inc. led steelmakers higher on speculation rising prices for their products signal profit will increase.
The MSCI Asian index climbed 0.5% to 146.18 as of 1:59 p.m. in Tokyo, after earlier declining as much as 0.1%. The measure slid to a four-week low on 1 May, following a three- day, 1.2% drop.
In Japan, KDDI Corp. led the Nikkei 225 Stock Average 0.8% higher after the Nikkei newspaper reported the domestic economy will keep expanding. Automakers such as Toyota Motor Corp. limited the Topix index to a 0.6% gain as U.S. sales fell on wavering consumer confidence and rising gasoline prices.
Markets gained around the region, except in New Zealand and Indonesia. China, Malaysia, India and Sri Lanka are closed for public holidays.
Companies reliant on Japan’s domestic economy also advanced after the Nikkei reported the nation’s gross domestic product expanded at a 2.6% annualized pace in the quarter ended in March, citing a survey of 15 economists. Investors had previously expected the pace of growth would drop significantly from the 5.5% rate in the previous quarter, but that appears not to have happened, the newspaper said.