Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index poised for a three-week high, after the Bank of Japanstuck with a plan for unprecedented asset purchases and boosted lending programs. Chinese shares fell as the central bank drained liquidity from the financial system.
Nissan Motor Co. (7201), a carmaker that gets about 80 percent of sales outside Japan, increased 2.1 percent in Tokyo as the yen slid. BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company, rose 1.9 percent in Sydney after first-half profit jumped more than expected. Bank of Communications Co. fell 0.9 percent in Hong Kong, pacing declines among Chinese lenders.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.4 percent to 136.89 as of 12:51 p.m. in Tokyo, heading for its highest close since Jan. 24. A gauge that excludes Japan shares fell 0.1 percent. Global equities erased this year’s losses after Janet Yellen’s first testimony to Congress as head of the Federal Reserve and China’s record lending buoyed optimism in the world’s largest economies.
Japan’s Topix (TPX) index jumped 1.5 percent. The nation’s central bank pledged to expand the monetary base by 60 trillion to 70 trillion yen ($686 billion) per year, as forecast by all 34 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. It doubled a core part of a growth lending program to 7 trillion yen and increased the scale of a lending facility.
New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.1 percent. Taiwan’s Taiex index added 0.2 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index dropped 0.4 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index was little changed. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index swung between gains and losses.
China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.5 percent, retreating from a two-month high, as money-market rates climbed as the central bank drained funds from the banking system after new lending reached a record.
“The central bank has realized there’s a need to soak up some liquidity,” said Wang Weijun, a strategist at Zheshang Securities Co. in Shanghai. “The process will pressure stocks.”
China’s foreign direct investment climbed 16.1 percent to $10.76 billion in January from a year earlier, according to a government report released today. That compares with the 2.5 percent median growth forecast by analysts in a Bloomberg survey and a 3.3 percent rise in December.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index swung between gains and losses. A period of steady interest ratesis likely as record-low borrowing costs and a weaker currency aid growth, the nation’s central bank said in minutes released today of its Feb. 4 meeting, where it kept the benchmark rate unchanged at 2.5 percent. Policy makers will monitor prices after a surprising acceleration in inflation last quarter, it said.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rebounded this month after dropping 4.6 percent in January, its worst start since 2009, amid concern about Fed stimulus cuts, signs of a slowdown in China and volatility in developing markets. Global equity losses in 2014 peaked at $3 trillion on Feb. 4 and were erased yesterday as the MSCI World Index capped a nine-day advance, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Shares on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index traded at 12.8 times estimated earnings yesterday, compared with 14.4 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index traded at a multiple of 15.6 at the end of last week, the data showed. U.S. markets were closed yesterday for a holiday.
Of the 357 companies on the Asian measure that have reported quarterly earnings since the beginning of January and for which estimates are available, 54 percent beat profit expectations, Bloomberg-compiled data show.