Asian stocks advance on strong earnings

Asian markets advance on better than expected earnings results

Asian markets advance on better than expected earnings results

Tue, Feb 19, 2013, 00:00

Asian stocks advanced this morning, with the regional benchmark index trading near its highest close in 18 months, as Bridgestone, the world's biggest tiremaker, surged by the most in four years on better- than-expected profit.

Bridgestone soared 10 per cent in Tokyo, to the highest close since 2006. Gree Inc., a Japanese social-network website operator, rose 2.7 per cent on a share-buyback plan. Nissan Motor, a Japanese carmaker that gets 79 per cent of its revenue abroad, fell 1.1 per cent as the yen strengthened after Finance Minister Taro Aso ruled out foreign bond buying. Sands China Ltd. paced declines among casino operators in Hong Kong on a report Macau gaming revenue missed estimates. The MSCI Asia Pacific

Index rose 0.1 per cent to 133.92, with seven of 10 industry groups climbing. The measure is headed for the highest close since August 2nd, 2011. Chinese shares fell by the most in a month.

“Earnings have been mixed with auto-related companies doing better,” said Kazuyuki Terao, Tokyo-based chief investment officer of Allianz Global Investors Japan Co., part of Allianz Global Investors. “Stocks may give up some gains as the market discounts expectations for foreign bond buying. Yet, the Bank of Japan will still do aggressive monetary easing once a new governor comes in.”

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 9.7 per cent from the start of November through yesterday, led by Japanese shares, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to beat deflation and pushed the central bank to ease monetary policy. Asia's benchmark trades at 14.9 times estimated earnings compared with 13.7 for the Standard and Poor's 500 Index and 12.3 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that Prime Minister Abe will consider the nominations for the role as new Bank of Japan governor after his February 22nd summit with President Barack Obama in Washington. BOJ Governor Masaaki Shirakawa is to step down on March 19th ahead of schedule.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 0.3 per cent after minutes of last month's Bank of Japan meeting said the nation's economy remains relatively weak. South Korea's Kospi Index added 0.2 per cent. Australia's SandP/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.4 per cent as minutes of the central bank's latest meeting said there are indications that lower rates are starting to spur the economy. New Zealand's NZX 50 Index rose 0.7 per cent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.8 per cent and China's Shanghai Composite Index lost 1.6 per cent, the most since January 11th. Taiwan's Taiex Index rose 0.2 per cent and Singapore's Straits Times Index increased 0.1 per cent.

U.S. Futures Futures on the Standard and Poor's 500 Index rose less than 0.1 per cent.

Bloomberg