Asian stocks rose this week by the most in two months as US jobs and home data and China’s preliminary manufacturing report showed signs the world’s two largest economies are recovering.
Li & Fung Ltd (利豐), a supplier of toys and clothes to Wal-Mart Stores Inc, climbed 2.8 percent this week in Hong Kong. Toyota Motor Corp, Asia’s largest carmaker, jumped 5.7 percent in Tokyo after its Chinese venture partner, Guangzhou Automobile Group (廣州汽車集團) said the most difficult period has passed since the breakout of anti-Japan protests. Samsung Electronics Co, the world’s No. 15 company by value, surged 10 percent to a record in Seoul after debt ratings on its Japanese rivals were cut to junk by Fitch Ratings.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 2.5 percent to 122.87 this week, its sharpest weekly gain since the period ended Sept. 14. The gauge has gained almost 13 percent from this year’s low on June 4, as central banks from Europe, the US, Japan and China took steps to support economic growth.
“The manufacturing data bodes very well for 2013,” Shane Oliver, Sydney-based head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors, said on Bloomberg Television. “A lot of the bad news has been priced in. We’ve probably seen the bottom for the markets.”
Stocks on Asia’s benchmark index were valued at about 13.8 times estimated earnings on average, compared with about 13.6 times for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12.4 times for the STOXX Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Taiwan’s TAIEX increased 2.8 percent this week, after Minister of Finance Chang Sheng-ford (張盛和) said on Thursday that government-controlled funds should buy equities. The index surged 3.1 percent higher to 7,326.01 on Friday, the biggest advance since Dec. 21. Formosa Petrochemical Corp (台塑石化) surged the most in 13 months and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電), which has the biggest weighting on the index, jumped to a record.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 3.8 percent in a holiday-shortened week. The gauge has surged 8.1 percent since Nov. 14 when Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda called for elections that polls show the opposition Liberal Democratic Party would win. The Bank of Japan held off from more monetary easing on Tuesday after expanding asset purchases in September and last month.
South Korea’s KOSPI gained 2.7 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index added 1.5 percent.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 1.8 percent. The Reserve Bank of Australia said more interest-rate reductions may be appropriate to spur economic growth as the nation’s mining boom wanes, minutes of its Nov. 6 policy meeting showed this week.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland companies listed in the territory rose 3.6 percent. China’s manufacturing may expand for the first time in 13 months this month, according to a preliminary survey released on Thursday by HSBC Holdings PLC and Markit Economics.
The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 0.6 percent this week, underperforming other indexes in the region as waning speculation of lower bank reserve requirements overshadowed the positive manufacturing data.
In other markets on Friday:
Manila closed 0.71 percent higher from Thursday, adding 38.97 points to 5,552.34.
Wellington increased 11.12 points, or 0.28 percent, to 4,008.33.