Asian stocks rose, with the region’s benchmark index set for a third weekly gain, after US housing permits rose to a four-year high, helping temper concerns about the strength of a global recovery.
Santos climbed 3.2 per cent after the Australian energy explorer said it will begin sales from a shale gas project in October. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Japan’s largest publicly traded lender, rose 2.2 per cent as German Chancellor Angela Merkel backed the European Central Bank’s conditions for assisting indebted countries. Samsung Electronics fell 3.7 per cent in Seoul after resting its case in a patent-infringement trial with Apple.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.3 per cent to 120.82 during early trade in Tokyo. Almost five stocks climbed for every three that declined on the gauge, which is poised for its longest run of weekly gains since early March. The measure closed at 120.93 on August 9, the highest since May 8.
“Markets are moving to a more risk-on phase,” said Tim Schroeders, a portfolio manager who helps oversee $1 billion in equities at Pengana Capital in Melbourne. “The US recovery seems more robust than people had thought previously. Investors in Asia are still waiting for earnings to justify valuations.”Through Thursday, the Asia-Pacific gauge fell 6.6 per cent from this year’s high on February 29 on concern Europe’s debt crisis and slower growth in China and the US are hurting earnings.
The regional benchmark index traded at 12.5 times estimated earnings compared with 13.7 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 11.7 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Of 437 companies on the measure that reported quarterly earnings since May 16, and for which Bloomberg has estimates, 54 per cent have missed projections.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average increased 0.8 per cent, extending yesterday’s 1.9 per cent jump. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.9 per cent. South Korea’s Kospi Index slipped 0.6 per cent, dragged lower by Samsung.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index advanced 0.8 per cent and the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.1 per cent. Singapore’s Straits Times was little changed.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slid 0.1 per cent today. Stocks in the U.S rose yesterday as Cisco Systems Inc. reported profit that beat estimates and as the housing-permits report offset a bigger-than-forecast drop in Philadelphia-area manufacturing.
Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings, which makes shoes for Nike, rose 0.7 per cent to HK$23.10, while Honda Motor, a carmaker that counts North America as its biggest market, climbed 2.4 per cent to 2,642 yen, a fifth straight gain.
Santos increased 3.2 per cent to A$11.78 afters saying it expects its first sales of shale gas in October following the drilling of a well in the Cooper Basin of central Australia. The company, which also reported a 48 per cent drop in first-half profit today, is among explorers seeking to tap what the Australian government estimates is almost 400 trillion cubic feet of domestic shale gas resources.
Oil traded higher than $95 a barrel on Friday after increasing 1.4 per cent in New York on Thursday. Cnooc, China’s largest offshore producer, climbed 2 per cent to HK$15.58 in Hong Kong. S-Oil Corp., a South Korean refiner, added 2.3 per cent to 110,500 won.
Chancellor Merkel backed the European Central Bank’s insistence on conditions for helping reduce borrowing costs in indebted countries, saying Germany is “in line” with the ECB’s approach to defending the euro. Euro-area policy makers “feel committed to do everything we can to maintain the common currency,” Merkel said on Thursday in Ottawa at a joint press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Mitsubishi UFJ climbed 2.2 per cent to 370 yen in Tokyo. Esprit Holdings, a clothier that counts Europe as its largest market, advanced 1.8 per cent to HK$11.50 in Hong Kong.
Samsung, which advanced more than 20 per cent in the month through Thursday, dropped 3.7 per cent to 1.295 million won. The company, the world’s No 1 shipper of smartphones, finished presenting its arguments in a patent-infringement case in California against rival and customer Apple.