Asian stocks climbed, with the regional benchmark index rising after two days of losses, amid speculation central bankers will continue stimulus measures and as China maintained its economic-growth target for 2013.
James Hardie Industries SE, a building-materials supplier that gets two-thirds of its sales from the U.S., rose 3.5 percent in Sydney. SK Hynix Inc., the world’s second-largest maker of computer memory chips, added 3.3 percent in Seoul after Kiwoom Securities Co. said chip prices will accelerate gains this month. Fast Retailing Co., Asia’s biggest clothier, jumped 5.9 percent in Tokyo after reporting same-store sales at its Uniqlo outlets in Japan increased last month, reports Bloomberg.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.6 percent to 134.66 as of 12:50 p.m. in Tokyo, with about three shares rising for every two that fell. The gauge capped a four-month advance in February, the longest such winning streak since September 2009, as central banks around the world maintained accommodative monetary policies.
“The continued penchant for monetary largess by the major central banks around the world still does provide an unprecedented cushion for investors,” said Benjamin Yeo, Singapore-based head of Asian investment strategy at Barclays Plc’s wealth management unit, which has about $250 billion under management. “The risk-on mode will prevail for the remainder of 2013.”
U.S. Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Janet Yellen said yesterday the U.S. central bank should press on with $85 billion in monthly bond buying. The Bank of Japan should expand the country’s monetary base, Kikuo Iwata, a nominee for Bank of Japan deputy governor, said in a confirmation hearing today.
The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 1.1 percent. China maintained its economic-growth target at 7.5 percent for 2013 while nominating a lower inflation goal of 3.5 percent, setting up a challenge for new leaders to keep prices in check without harming expansion. The median estimate of 43 analysts surveyed in February by Bloomberg News is for growth of 8.1 percent in 2013.
The figures came in the text of Premier Wen Jiabao’s work report released in Beijing today ahead of his final opening address to almost 3,000 lawmakers at the annual meeting of the National People’s Congress.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) rose 0.6 percent and South Korea’s Kospi Index advanced 0.4 percent. Taiwan’s Taiex Index gained 0.6 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index added 0.3 percent.