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Asia Stocks Rise With Emerging Currencies
World Economy

Asia Stocks Rise With Emerging Currencies

Asian stocks rose amid a rally in Chinese shares and as Tokyo equities were propelled higher by a first-day surge for Japan Post’s units. The Australian dollar strengthened with emerging-market currencies.
All 10 industry groups on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced. Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. pared its advance. China’s central bank clarified that comments published Wednesday saying a link between Hong Kong and Shenzhen will start this year were five months old. Japan Post’s banking unit and holding company jumped in the biggest initial offering of the year. Taiwan shares climbed on an announcement that President Ma Ying-jeou will meet China’s President Xi Jinping in Singapore on Saturday. The Aussie rose a second day after the central bank held rates, Bloomberg reported.
With further monetary stimulus and financial-market reform in China assuaging some concerns over the outlook for the world’s second-biggest economy, investors are refocusing on the trajectory of US growth. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen addresses Congress Wednesday with employment reports this week seen as key indicators for the timing of any interest-rate increase. Australian and Japanese policy makers decided against further easings at recent meetings, while European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi said officials will reexamine next month whether enough support is being provided.

 Stocks
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 1.1% in Tokyo, headed for its biggest daily gain since Oct. 23. The Topix rose 0.9%, clawing back some of Monday’s losses, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index earlier surged about 4%.
Shares of Japan Post’s insurance unit soared more than 50%. The Japanese government raised ¥1.44 trillion ($12 billion) from the three-pronged IPO, which was oversubscribed within days of going on sale last month. The offering was part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to convince Japanese to put more of their savings to investments.
Hong Kong’s gauge of Chinese shares climbed 2.1%, with 37 of 40 stocks advancing. The Hang Seng Index added 1.6%. HKEx surged as much as 9.1% to briefly surpass CME Group Inc. as the world’s biggest exchange company by market value. That gain was pared to 3.6% early in the afternoon session. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 2.4% and Taiwan’s Taiex index increased 1.6%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was little changed, while South Korea’s Kospi index swung between gains and losses. The S&P/NZX 50 Index added 0.8% in a second day of gains in Wellington, setting a fresh record.
S&P 500 Index futures edged higher following a 0.3% advance in the US benchmark that put it less than 1% below its record high. Nasdaq 100 Index futures rose 0.2% after the technology-heavy equity gauge jumped to an all-time high Tuesday.

 Currencies
The Aussie gained 0.2% to 72.01 US cents. The Reserve Bank of Australia left the benchmark at a record-low 2% on Tuesday, asserting economic prospects “had firmed” in recent months even as the inflation outlook allowed room for further rate reductions.
Malaysia’s ringgit appreciated 0.4% to trade at a one-week high. The currency of Southeast Asia’s only major net petroleum exporter is up a third day after the 3.8% surge in oil prices Tuesday. The won climbed 0.4% in a fourth day of gains. The Thai baht rose 0.2% with the central bank projected to keep key rates on hold at a review Wednesday.
The kiwi retreated 0.2% to 66.49 US cents. Employment in the South Pacific nation fell for the first time in three years last quarter, with economists projecting an increase. The price of whole milk powder also dropped at a global auction late on Tuesday, the second straight decline. New Zealand is the world’s biggest dairy exporter.
The euro slipped 0.1% to $1.09 after snapping a three-day climb on Tuesday.
The Bloomberg Commodity Index rose 0.1% after a 1% jump Tuesday. Gold for immediate delivery advanced 0.4% to $1,121.82. Copper for three-month delivery in London advanced 0.7%, while nickel jumped 1.3%.

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