Asian stocks rose for a fifth day, paring the regional benchmark index's biggest monthly retreat in more than a year, on speculation the Federal Reserve may announce measures to shore up the US economy this month.
Honda Motor, the Japanese carmaker that gets about 44 per cent of sales from North America, gained 1.5 per cent in Tokyo. Olam International, a supplier of agricultural commodities, jumped 7.3 per cent in Singapore after posting higher fourth-quarter profit. Telecom Corporation of New Zealand slumped 3.6 per cent in Wellington after releasing details of a demerger and saying its chief executive officer will step down.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 1.2 per cent to 124.80 in Tokyo, set for its longest streak of daily advances since July 4. The gauge headed for an 8.8 per cent decline last month, the most since May 2010, amid concern that global economic growth is slowing as Europe's sovereign debt crisis spreads and after Standard & Poor's cut the US credit rating for the first time.
"The market has priced in most of the negative factors, and now it depends on the response from policymakers," said Koichi Kurose, chief economist in Tokyo at Resona Bank Limited. "While the market won't go down easily, to go up it needs a view that appropriate policies will be implemented."
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Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.6 per cent, erasing earlier losses of as much as 0.4 per cent. South Korea's Kospi Index increased 2 per cent, erasing an earlier decline of as much as 0.3 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index advanced 1.6 per cent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index was little changed.
Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average closed 1.30 points, or less than 0.1 per cent, higher, having swung between gains and losses at least 10 times, after a report showed Japan's industrial production rose less than expected in July. Markets in Indonesia, Malaysia and India were shut for holidays.
Futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 0.9 per cent yesterday. In New York, the index rose 0.2 per cent on Tuesday after minutes of the Fed meeting last month showed some policy makers favoured more aggressive action to stimulate the economy.
The Federal Open Market Committee will extend the September 20 policy meeting an extra day to "allow a fuller discussion" of the slowing economy and the central bank's possible policy response, Chairman Ben Bernanke said on August 26.
Exporters advanced on speculation shipments to the US, the biggest market for Asian products, will rise if the Fed announces new stimulus measures.
Honda Motor gained 1.5 per cent to 2,474 yen in Tokyo. LG Electronics, the world's fourth-largest maker mobile phones by sales, climbed 4.1 per cent to 66,600 won in Seoul. Li & Fung, a supplier of toys and clothes to US retailers including Wal-Mart Stores, increased 3.5 per cent to HK$14.04 (Dh6.61).
"There's still downward pressure on stocks," said John Woods, Hong Kong-based chief Asian strategist at Citigroup's private bank. "I can't see why there's going to be a compelling rebound in stock prices until we see clarity on the economic growth outlook."
The S&P 500 Index fell as much as 1.2 per cent before recovering on Tuesday after the New York-based Conference Board's index of US consumer confidence slumped to 44.5, the weakest reading since April 2009, from a revised 59.2 reading in July.
Of the 694 companies on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index that posted net income since July 11, 44 per cent exceeded estimates, while 35 per cent fell short, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Olam, one of the world's top three suppliers of rice, cocoa and coffee, advanced 7.7 per cent to S$2.51 in Singapore after saying fourth-quarter profit climbed 38 per cent from a year earlier.
Wing Tai Holdings, a property developer in Singapore, jumped 8 per cent to S$1.355 after reporting fourth-quarter net income more than doubled.
Sihuan Pharmaceutical Holdings Group Limited, a drugmaker in China, surged 14 per cent to HK$3.04 in Hong Kong, the most on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index, after posting a 49 per cent increase in first-half profit.
Among stocks that dropped, Telecom New Zealand slumped 3.6 to NZ$2.54 after saying the split of its retail and infrastructure businesses will be completed by the end of November. A search for new chief executive officer to replace Paul Reynolds in 2012 has started, the company said.
"There is some concern over the break-up of earnings between the two units," Guy Hallwright, an analyst at Forsyth Barr in Auckland, said in a telephone interview. stock gained 4.4 per cent to 13,400 yen.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 10 per cent this year through Tuesday, compared with a 3.6 per cent drop by the S&P 500 and a 16 per cent loss by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.
Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 12.1 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 12.2 times for the S&P 500 and 9.6 times for the Stoxx 600.