Asian Stocks Advance as Regional Holidays Curb Trading Volume

May 06, 2014 6:16 am ET

May 6 (Bloomberg) -- Asian stocks rose, with trading volume curbed by holidays in Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea. Genting Singapore Plc and Australia’s Leighton Holdings Ltd. climbed after reporting earnings.

Casino operator Genting Singapore gained 2.7 percent and Leighton added 1.8 percent. Rare-earths miner Lynas Corp. fell to a five-year low in Sydney after saying it plans to defer some debt repayments. Nan Kang Rubber Tire Co., a tire manufacturer, soared 7 percent in Taipei -- its biggest advance since July 2011 -- after April sales climbed.

The MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index advanced 0.3 percent to 475.76 at 8:08 p.m. in Sydney as nine out of 10 industry groups rose. Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.1 percent.

“With Japan being shut and Hong Kong, there’s not a huge amount of volume,” Evan Lucas, a market strategist in Melbourne at IG Ltd., said by phone. “People will start to look toward Yellen’s testimony tomorrow where she will keep the language very open.”

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is due to testify to lawmakers May 7 after the U.S. central bank pressed ahead April 30 with reductions to its monthly bond-buying, while holding its short-term interest-rate target at near zero.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.4 percent today, maintaining gains after the Reserve Bank of Australia held its benchmark interest rate at a record-low 2.5 percent, as forecast by all 33 economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

“There has been some improvement in indicators for the labor market,” RBA Governor Glenn Stevens said in a statement accompanying the decision. “But it will probably be some time yet before unemployment declines consistently.”

Regional Gauges

Taiwan’s Taiex index gained 0.5 percent, with Nan Kang Rubber rising 7 percent to NT$36.70. Singapore’s Straits Times Index added 0.1 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index slid 0.5 percent. India’s S&P BSE Sensex Index rose 0.3 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite was little changed.

Trading volume in Sydney and Shanghai was more than 25 percent below the 30-day average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Genting Singapore gained 2.7 percent to S$1.35 after the casino operator said earnings climbed in the first quarter.

Leighton advanced 1.8 percent to A$19.49 after Australia’s largest builder reported a 24 percent surge in first-quarter profit.

Lynas dropped 9.1 percent to 15 Australian cents after saying it plans to defer some debt repayments and sell as much as A$40 million ($37 million) in shares.