Most Asian Stocks Rise, Boosting MSCI Index From 10-Month Low
May 26 (Bloomberg) -- Most Asian stocks rose, driving up the MSCI Asia Pacific Index from a 10-month low yesterday, after gains in commodity prices and transport fees boosted the earnings outlook for resource producers and shipping lines.
BHP Billiton Ltd., the world's largest mining company, gained 3.2 percent in Sydney. STX Pan Ocean Co., South Korea's No. 1 bulk carrier, increased 3.8 percent after a gauge of commodity-shipping fees climbed to a six-month high. Foster's Group Ltd., Australia's biggest liquor maker, jumped 7 percent in Sydney after outlining a plan to break up.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed at 108.99 as of 10:20 a.m. in Tokyo, with four stocks advancing for every three that retreated. The gauge tumbled 3.1 percent yesterday after a report said North Korea's military had been ordered to prepare for combat and concern increased that more European countries are struggling to manage their budget deficits.
"Stocks have been oversold," said Hiroichi Nishi, an equities manager in Tokyo at Nikko Cordial Securities Inc.
The Nikkei 225 Stock Average climbed 0.6 percent in Tokyo, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index increased 1.5 percent and South Korea's Kospi Index gained 0.2 percent after a 2.8 percent drop yesterday.
Futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 0.7 percent today. The index climbed less than 0.1 percent in New York yesterday, recovering from a slump of 3.1 percent, as Representative Barney Frank said a proposal to restrict banks' use of derivatives "goes too far."
Concern that mounting government debt in Europe will prevent nations from bolstering their economies and that China will curb property speculation has dragged down the MSCI Asia Pacific Index by 9.2 percent this year. The slump decreased the average price of the stocks on the gauge to 14 times estimated earnings, near the lowest level since January 2009.
BHP, Australia's largest oil producer, gained 3.2 percent to A$37.45. Rio Tinto Group, the world's third-largest mining company, climbed 3.5 percent to A$63.88. Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. surged 7 percent to A$3.68, the biggest biggest percentage increase among the 981 companies in the MSCI Asia Pacific Index. Copper futures for July delivery rallied 1.5 percent today. Crude oil advanced 1.3 percent.
STX advanced 3.8 percent to 11,000 won in Seoul. Nippon Yusen K.K., Japan's largest shipping line by sales, climbed 1.9 percent to 318 yen. Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd., which operates the world's biggest merchant fleet, rose 3.2 percent to 619 yen. The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of shipping rates for commodities, soared 6.2 percent yesterday to its highest level since Nov. 25.
Foster's Group gained 7 percent to A$5.51, the second- biggest gain in the MSCI index. The company said it plans to split its beer and wine assets into separate companies, abandoning a foray into wine that has cost billions of dollars.
Japanese equities got a boost as the euro and dollar strengthened from yesterday, increasing the value of overseas sales at Japanese companies when repatriated. Olympus Corp., an endoscope maker that gets 18 percent of its sales in Europe, advanced 1.6 percent to 2,273 yen. Sony Corp., the maker of the PlayStation 3 game machine, gained 1.1 percent to 2,759 yen.
The European currency strengthened to as much as 111.98 yen today from 110.37 at the 3 p.m. close of Tokyo stock trading yesterday. The dollar appreciated to as much as 90.50 from 89.78.