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Asian stocks climb, led by Japan, on weaker yen; oil, won climb

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Published : 2014-02-10 10:19
Updated : 2014-02-10 10:19

Asian stocks rose, with the regional index headed for its longest streak of daily gains since December, as Japanese shares rallied on a weaker yen. Oil rose to its highest level this year and South Korea’s won climbed to one-week high against the greenback.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index increased 0.4 percent, rising for a fourth day, at 9:50 a.m. in Tokyo. Japan’s Topix index climbed 1 percent, while Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures were little changed after the U.S. gauge rallied 1.3 percent on Feb. 7. The yen weakened 0.2 percent versus the dollar, while the won gained 0.2 percent. Oil added 0.4 percent after breaking above $100 a barrel for the first time this year in New York last week.

Japan reported a record current account deficit for December today. China’s central bank said on Feb. 8 that investors will have to tolerate further volatility in money market rates as it reins in credit growth. Federal Reserve chairman Janet Yellen takes center stage on Capitol Hill tomorrow, delivering her first semi-annual monetary testimony as markets weigh how mixed economic reports last week will affect the central bank’s plan for reducing stimulus.

With confidence in global equities returning after concerns over emerging markets dissipated, we should expect selling pressure from January to finally subside,?Tim Radford, a strategist at Rivkin Securities in Sydney, said by email. That will 밶llow for some upside to eventuate in the near-term.?

Global equity losses in 2014 peaked at $3 trillion on Feb. 4 and have since narrowed to $1.6 trillion, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The MSCI Asia-Pacific gauge fell 4.6 percent in January for its worst start to a year since 2009 amid concern about the Fed’s stimulus cuts, China’s economic slowdown and instability in developing markets.

U.S. Jobs

About three stocks rose for each that retreated on the Asia-Pacific measure, which last week capped a sixth straight weekly loss, the longest streak since June 2011. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.7 percent, while New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index slid 0.3 percent and South Korea’s Kospi index fell 0.3 percent. Markets in China and Hong Kong are yet to open.

The Asian gauge traded at 12.5 times estimated earnings on Feb. 7, compared with 15.2 for the S&P 500 and 13.9 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Of the 286 companies on the index that have reported quarterly earnings since the beginning of January and for which estimates are available, 52 percent beat analyst estimates for profit, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

China, Japan

The U.S. added 113,000 jobs in January, a Feb. 7 report showed, trailing the median estimate of 180,000 in a Bloomberg survey. The jobless rate dropped to 6.6 percent, the lowest since October 2008. The Fed last month said it will press on with a second reduction to its monthly bond buying, by $10 billion to $65 billion, citing an improvement in the labor market.

China’s central bank signaled that volatility in money- market interest rates will persist and borrowing costs will rise, underscoring the risk of defaults that could weigh on confidence and drag down growth.

Then the valve of liquidity starts to tame and curb excessive credit expansion, money-market rates, or the cost of liquidity, will reflect that,” the People’s Bank of China said in its fourth-quarter monetary policy report.

The yen slid 0.2 percent today to 102.46 per dollar. Japan’s shortfall on the widest measure of trade widened to a record 638.6 billion yen ($6.2 billion) in December, following a 592.8 billion yen gap the prior month, official data showed today. The deficit is the biggest in comparable data back to 1985 and compared with the 685.4 billion yen median forecast of 27 economists in a Bloomberg survey. (Bloomberg)

 

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