Asian stocks swung between gains and losses as U.S. jobs and manufacturing data added to signs the world’s biggest economy is recovering. Gains were limited as Japanese exporters fell amid a rebound in the yen.
Li & Fung Ltd. (494) rose 2.7 percent in Hong Kong after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. recommended buying shares of supplier to Wal- Mart Stores Inc. Honda Motor Co., Japan’s second-largest carmaker by market value, dropped 0.6 percent. Hyundai Wia Corp. slumped 5.1 percent in Seoul after South Korean automakers sold shares in the parts manufacturer at a discount.
“The market’s taking a breather after its recent rally,” said Mitsushige Akino, who oversees about $600 million at Ichiyoshi Investment Management Co. in Tokyo. “There’s no doubt the U.S. economy is headed in a good direction. Fundamentals are strong and money is flowing into Asia. With the U.S. recovering and Europe’s debt crisis no longer acting as a drag, the global economy’s not headed for a decline.”
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.1 percent to 127.70 as of 2:39 p.m. in Tokyo, set to gain for 12 of the past 13 weeks. About as many stocks rose as fell, with only three of the gauge’s 10 industry groups advancing.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index (AS51) were little changed. South Korea’s Kospi Index slipped 0.4 percent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.2 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP), which tracks the bigger of China’s stock exchanges, rose 0.3 percent.
Singapore’s Straits Times Index fell 0.1 percent. The city- state’s exports rebounded in February as shipments of pharmaceuticals and electronics surged after a holiday in January reduced overseas sales, a report showed.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPXL1) declined 0.1 percent. The index gained 0.6 percent in New York yesterday, rising above 1,400 for the first time in almost four years. Manufacturing (EMPRGBCI) in the New York region expanded in March at the fastest pace since June 2010, a report showed. Claims for jobless benefits fell last week, matching the lowest level in four years.
Li & Fung, which makes 65 percent of its revenue from the U.S., rose 2.7 percent to HK$19.10 in Hong Kong. Goldman Sachs raised its rating to “buy” from “neutral” and added the stock to its regional conviction list, saying the company is most leveraged to U.S. rebound.
Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. (27) surged 6.6 percent to HK$20.10 in Hong Kong, leading its peers higher after Nomura Holdings Inc. raised the Macau casino operator’s rating to “buy” from “neutral” on expectation the company will beat estimates this year.
Hyundai Wia slumped 5.1 percent to 131,500 won in Seoul. Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. are offering 2.6 million shares in the company at 131,600 won to 135,000 won apiece to raise as much as $308 million, according to terms for the deal obtained by Bloomberg News. The stock closed at 138,500 won yesterday.
Honda dropped 0.6 percent to 3,275 yen in Tokyo as the Japanese currency rebounded from near an 11-month low against the dollar. A stronger yen decreases the value of Japanese exporters’ overseas income when repatriated.