Asian Stocks Extend Best Rally in Two Months as Tensions Ease

Aug 12, 2014 4:14 am ET

Aug. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark measure extending gains after capping the biggest daily rally in almost two months, amid optimism that geopolitical risks are receding.

GungHo Online Entertainment Inc. jumped 7.8 percent, rising the most on the regional index, after the Japanese gamemaker’s “Picotto Kingdom” title surged up Apple Inc.’s application store in Japan. United Laboratories International Holdings Ltd. advanced 5.8 percent in Hong Kong after the drugmaker forecast higher first-half net income. Tata Motors Ltd., India’s biggest automaker, surged 5.3 percent after beating analysts’ estimates with a threefold jump in profit.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.4 percent to 146.48 as of 4:07 p.m. in Hong Kong after surging 1.2 percent yesterday, the most since June 19. The measure lost 2.4 percent last week on concern about conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East.

“It looks like some of the geopolitical concerns are easing,” said Nader Naeimi, who helps oversee about $131 billion as Sydney-based head of dynamic asset allocation at AMP Capital Investors Ltd. “We should see stabilization in the equity market and markets should be able to gain some of the lost ground.”

Japan’s Topix index climbed 0.4 percent after the yen fell 0.2 percent against the dollar yesterday. South Korea’s Kospi index advanced 0.1 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 1.3 percent as banks rallied along with BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index increased 0.1 percent. Markets in Thailand remained closed for a holiday.

Chinese Shares

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland shares traded in Hong Kong and the city’s benchmark Hang Seng Index rose 0.2 percent. China’s Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.1 percent. Taiwan’s Taiex Index slid 0.1 percent. India’s S&P BSE Sensex Index climbed 0.7 percent.

Singapore’s Straits Times Index was little changed as the nation’s gross domestic product unexpectedly rose an annualized 0.1 percent in the three months through June from the previous quarter, when it climbed a revised 1.8 percent, the trade ministry said today. That compares with a July estimate of a 0.8 percent contraction and the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of economists for a 0.3 percent drop.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.2 percent today. The measure advanced 0.3 percent yesterday on optimism that tension between Russia and Ukraine will ease and U.S. airstrikes will push back militants in Iraq.

Ukraine, Iraq

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said yesterday there would be an international humanitarian mission to the city of Luhansk under the auspices of the Red Cross, involving the U.S., the European Union and Russia. Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said agreement had been reached with Ukraine on providing aid.

In the Middle East, President Barack Obama gave full U.S. support for Iraq’s president to form a new government hours after embattled Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki rejected stepping aside for a successor.

GungHo jumped 7.8 percent to 579 yen after “Picotto Kingdom” rose to third on Apple’s app store in Japan for free downloads as of Aug. 10 from 269th the day before, according to data from Distimo.

Also among Japanese technology stocks, Mixi Inc. surged 20 percent to 6,110 yen today after soaring 16 percent yesterday. The Internet company raised its first-half net income forecast to 8 billion yen ($78 million) from 2.8 billion yen, citing sales of its “Monster Strike” game.

Corporate Results

United Laboratories advanced 5.8 percent to HK$5.87. The company said first-half profit will rise to at least HK$650 million ($84 million) from HK$43 million on higher prices for its bulk medicines and lower manufacturing costs.

Tata Motors surged 5.3 percent to 470.15 rupees, poised for its biggest gain since November, after net income rose to 54 billion rupees ($883 million) in the quarter ended June, beating the 37.9 billion-rupee median of 34 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Of the companies on the Asian stock gauge that released results from the start of July through yesterday and for which Bloomberg had estimates, 58 percent beat earnings expectations.

The Asia-Pacific gauge traded at 13.4 times estimated earnings at the last close, compared with 16.2 for the S&P 500 and 15 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.