Asian stocks advance on robust China manufacturing

Asian stocks advance on robust China manufacturing

Tokyo: Asian stocks rose on Monday, extending the MSCI Asia Pacific Index’s biggest annual gain since 2003, after Chinese manufacturing grew and a stronger dollar boosted the outlook for Japanese car and electronics makers.

SAIC Motor Corp. Ltd, China’s largest car maker, jumped 3.2%. Sony Corp. and Honda Motor Co. Ltd, which get at least 20% of revenue from North America, gained as the dollar traded at near a four-month high versus the yen. Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp. surged 6.9% in Taipei after the Commercial Times said flat-panel-display prices may rise.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 1% to 121.60 as of 7.15pm in Tokyo, the highest level since 3 December. The gauge jumped 34% last year as stimulus packages and lower interest rates helped drag the global economy out of the worst slowdown since World War II.

“Asia is expected to remain the engine of growth for the world’s economy," said Hiroshi Morikawa, a senior strategist at MU Investments Co., which manages the equivalent of $13 billion (Rs60,450 crore) in Tokyo. “The first trading day of a year is often seen as a predictor of the year’s market climate. People are hoping this year will be better than last year and become more responsive to good news."

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 1% in the first trading day since 30 December to the highest close since 3 October. Japan Airlines Corp. soared 31% after the government said a state-run bank will double the amount of credit it will provide for the carrier.

The Kospi index added 0.8% in Seoul after a 1 January government report showed the nation’s exports increased at the fastest pace in 17 months. Hynix Semiconductor Inc. jumped 4.1% after Daewoo Securities Co. said demand may remain solid in the first half.

Indonesia’s Jakarta Composite index climbed 1.6% and Vietnam’s VN index surged 4.5%. Stocks in emerging markets may extend their biggest annual advance amid a sustained US economic recovery, a Credit Suisse Group AG report said.