Asian Stocks Rise as Investors Watch for U.S. Economic Recovery

Jun 26, 2014 6:32 am ET

June 26 (Bloomberg) -- Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index posting its biggest gain this week, amid optimism the U.S. economy is emerging from a worse-than- estimated contraction last quarter.

China Gas Holdings Ltd. surged 6.9 percent in Hong Kong as it said it plans to increase sales threefold by 2020. Rakuten Inc. rose 2.9 percent after the Japanese online retailer was reported to be in talks to invest in a discount airline with AirAsia Bhd. Luk Fook Holdings International Ltd. climbed 4.1 percent in Hong Kong after profit at the jeweler rose.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.8 percent to 145.43 as of 6:31 p.m. in Hong Kong, with all of its 10 industry groups advancing. U.S. stocks rose yesterday for the first time in three days as investors watch data for signs of a recovery after a report yesterday showed the economy shrank the most in five years last quarter. Economists predict a gauge of personal spending by Americans today will show gains.

“The U.S. market didn’t react negatively to the revised GDP data, which bodes well for markets here,” said Masaaki Yamaguchi, equity market strategist at Nomura Holdings Inc., Japan’s biggest brokerage by market value. “Asian markets are doing OK after getting a correction yesterday.”

Japan’s Topix index rose 0.2 percent and South Korea’s Kospi index gained 0.7 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 1.2 percent, while New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index advanced 0.5 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 1.5 percent, its biggest gain since May 12. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland stocks traded in the city added 1.5 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.7 percent.

China IPOs

China’s first companies to go public in four months jumped 44 percent on their first day of trading in Shenzhen. Shandong Longda Meat Foodstuff Co., Wuxi Xuelang Environmental Technology Co. and Feitian Technologies Co. surged by the maximum limit.

Taiwan’s Taiex index climbed 0.9 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index gained 0.4 percent and India’s S&P BSE Sensex Index fell 1 percent.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed today. The stock measure gained 0.5 percent yesterday even as a report showed that U.S. gross domestic product shrank 2.9 percent in the first quarter. Orders for business equipment climbed in May, a sign that corporate investment is helping revive the economy after slumping at the start of the year.

Americans returned to stores and car dealerships, companies placed more orders for equipment and manufacturing picked up as temperatures warmed, indicating the early-year setback was temporary. Combined with more job gains, such data underscore the view of Federal Reserve policy makers that the economy is improving and is in less need of monetary stimulus.

China Gas

China Gas gained 6.9 percent to HK$14.84 in Hong Kong as the supplier to 237 cities in the country said it is targeting sales of 30 billion cubic meters by 2020. China Gas and other natural gas distributors such as Beijing Enterprises Holdings Ltd. and ENN Energy Holdings Ltd. are set to benefit from a $400 billion deal between China National Petroleum Corp. and OAO Gazprom, which will see Russian export the fuel to China from 2018.

Rakuten rose 2.9 percent to 1,309 yen in Tokyo after Toyo Keizai reported the company and AirAsia are in tie-up talks for a budget airline in Japan.

Luk Fook Holdings International Ltd. climbed 4.1 percent to HK$23.10 in Hong Kong after full-year profit at the jeweler rose to HK$1.86 billion ($240 million) from HK$1.24 billion a year earlier.

Casino Stocks

Casino operators advanced in Hong Kong after Macau’s finance secretary commented on payment card devices used by jewelry and watch retailers within gaming houses. While the outlets won’t be allowed to add terminals from July, they won’t be shut down, Francis Tam said.

Ambrose So, who heads SJM Holdings Ltd., had said this month that the shops on casino floors had been ordered to remove their UnionPay card terminals by July 1.

Sands China Ltd. jumped 4 percent to HK$57.20. Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. climbed 3.7 percent to HK$59.50.

Yahoo Japan Corp. added 0.9 percent to 471 yen after saying it will own 65 percent of KC Card Co.’s credit and financial operations, according to a statement.

The Asia-Pacific gauge has added 2.6 percent this month. It trades at 13.3 times estimated earnings as of yesterday, compared with 16.6 for the S&P 500 and 15.3 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.