Thursday, January 3, 2013

(BN) Most Asian Stocks Rise as U.S. Manufacturing Expands in December

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Most Asian Stocks Rise as U.S. Manufacturing Expands in December
2013-01-03 00:34:39.898 GMT


By Adam Haigh
Jan. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Most Asian stocks rose, pushing a
regional equities index to its highest level in 17 months, after
a gauge of U.S. manufacturing added to optimism that the outlook
for economic growth is improving.
Rio Tinto Group, the world's second-largest mining company,
climbed 1.7 percent in Sydney as metals prices rose. Australian
miner Aquarius Platinum Ltd. soared 16 percent, the most in four
years, amid speculation that South African supply of the metal
will be lower during the first quarter. Samsung Electronics Co.
fell 1.3 percent in Seoul after being named in a new patent-
infringement complaint filed in Washington by InterDigital Inc.
over technology related to the latest mobile-phone standards.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Excluding Japan Index rose 0.1
percent to 476.55 as of 11:29 a.m. in Sydney, adding to
yesterday's biggest gain in three months. Almost three shares
gained for each that fell. A close at this level would be the
highest since August 2011. Standard & Poor's 500 Index futures
fell 0.2 percent today after the gauge jumped 2.5 percent
yesterday. Markets in mainland China and Japan are closed today
for holidays and Hong Kong's market is yet to open.
"We expect growth to accelerate through 2013," said
Gerard Minack, global strategist at Morgan Stanley in Sydney.
Asia's "recovery isn't as tethered to policy makers and
structural headwinds. Equities look cheap relative to the past
30 years."
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.5 percent, as did
New Zealand's NZX 50 Index. South Korea's Kospi Index slid 0.1
percent, dragged lower by Samsung, which accounts for 20 percent
on the gauge.

Factory Index

The regional benchmark MSCI Asia Pacific Index surged 14
percent in 2012 as central banks from the U.S., Europe, Japan
and China took action to spur economic growth. The MSCI Asia
Pacific gauge traded at 15 times average estimated earnings,
compared with 14.1 for the Standard & Poor's 500 Index and 12.9
times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled
by Bloomberg.
Manufacturing in the U.S. expanded in December. The
Institute for Supply Management's U.S. factory index rose to
50.7 in December from 49.5 a month earlier, the Tempe, Arizona-
based group said yesterday. Economists in a Bloomberg survey
projected a reading of 50.5 for December, according to the
median of 71 forecasts. The dividing line between expansion and
contraction is 50.
The House of Representatives passed a bill in Washington
yesterday by a vote of 257-167, undoing income-tax increases for
more than 99 percent of households. The bipartisan vote broke a
yearlong impasse over how to prevent more than $600 billion in
tax increases and spending cuts that could have led the economy
back into recession. President Barack Obama said he will sign
the bill into law.
The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded
Chinese shares in the U.S. jumped 2.9 percent to 102.01
yesterday in New York, the highest closing level since May 3.
The London Metal Exchange Index of six industrial metals
advanced 3.7 percent yesterday, its largest gain in more than
three months.

For Related News and Information:
Top stock-market news: TOP STK <GO>
World equity valuations: WPE <GO>
World equity index monitor: WEI <GO>
Most-read stock market stories: MNI STK <GO>
Developed markets overview: DMMV <GO>

--Editor: John McCluskey

To contact the reporter on this story:
Adam Haigh in Sydney at +61-2-9777-8635 or
ahaigh1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Nick Gentle at +852-2977-6545 or
ngentle2@bloomberg.net

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