Sept. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Asian stocks traded near a four- month high after a Chinese manufacturing index jumped more than forecast. Trading volume in Hong Kong was below average after a storm shut the market for half the day.
Delta Electronics Inc. a maker of power-supply packs for notebook computers, surged 6.3 percent, leading technology shares higher. Woori Finance Holdings Co. gained 1.6 percent in Seoul amid speculation sales of its regional bank units will succeed. Newcrest Mining Ltd., Australia’s largest gold producer, slumped 8.2 percent after analysts from Citigroup Inc. and Morgan Stanley predicted the bullion will extend losses as the U.S. economy improves.
The MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index slipped 0.1 percent to 468.9 at 6:37 p.m. in Hong Kong. The gauge reached a four-month high on Sept. 19 after the Federal Reserve maintained its bond-buying program. A preliminary HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics’ purchasing managers index for China released today rose to 51.2, a six-month high.
“It’s an indication of a continuing expansion,” Hao Hong, Hong Kong-based strategist at Bank of Communications Co., told Bloomberg TV. “As long as we continue to see economic expansion, the depressed expectations will continue to reverse and that is positive for the market.”
The Asia-Pacific gauge rallied 7.9 percent this month through Sept. 20 amid signs China’s economic growth is stabilizing.
A pickup in China’s growth may boost Premier Li Keqiang’s odds of meeting this year’s 7.5 percent expansion goal. The final reading of the manufacturing PMI from HSBC and Markit will be released Sept. 30.
China’s Shanghai Composite Index added 1.3 percent as mainland Chinese bourses resumed trading for the first time since the Federal Reserve unexpectedly announced Sept. 18 that it needed more evidence of a U.S. economic recovery before paring its economic stimulus program.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slid 0.5 percent, South Korea’s Kospi index added 0.2 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index declined 0.6 percent. Singapore’s Strait Times Index dropped 0.7 percent. Futures on the S&P 500 rose 0.2 percent. Japan’s market was closed for a holiday.
Taiwan’s Taiex Index climbed 1 percent as technology firms advanced. Delta Electronics rose 6.3 percent to NT$144 and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. advanced 2.4 percent to NT$105.50.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slipped 0.6 percent, retreating from a seven-month high, after trading during the morning session was canceled due to Typhoon Usagi. The storm made landfall on the southern mainland, killing at least 25 people in China, forcing hundreds of flights to be canceled and leaving travelers stranded. HSBC Holdings Plc lost 1.9 percent to HK$86.30, the biggest drag on the Hang Seng Index.
Woori Finance advanced 1.6 percent to 12,650 won in Seoul. The shares rose on anticipation sales of Woori’s regional bank units Kyongnam Bank and Kwangju Bank may go well, according to Hwang Seok Kyu, a Seoul-based analyst at Kyobo Securities Co.
The Fed’s decision last week to maintain record stimulus also reduced concern over capital outflows from the Asian region, increasing foreign investors’ appetite for Korean bank stocks, the analyst said.
Gold producers declined after Morgan Stanley said the Fed’s surprise move will benefit prices only in the short term. The precious metal fell 3 percent on Sept. 20.
Newcrest Mining sank 8.2 percent to A$12.03 in Sydney and Perseus Mining Ltd. slumped 16 percent to 56.5 Australian cents. Zijin Mining Group Co., China’s biggest gold producer, lost 4.5 percent to HK$1.93 in Hong Kong. Zhaojin Mining Industry Co., China’s second-largest producer, lost 4.3 percent to HK$7.08.
Treasury Wine Estates Ltd. lost 6.3 percent to A$4.45 in Sydney after the world’s second-biggest publicly traded wine maker said Chief Executive Officer David Dearie was leaving the company immediately.
--Editors: John McCluskey, Sarah McDonald