Asian stocks headed for a second week of gains as Japanese shares climbed for the first time in three days and investors awaited the monthly US government jobs report for clues on when the US central bank will raise borrowing costs.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.4 percent to 128.58 as of 4:19pm in Hong Kong, heading for its first week of back-to-back gains since mid-April. Australian and Philippine equities were among the biggest gainers in the region. Investors are also turning their focus on macroeconomic events this month, with the UK vote on whether to remain in the EU.
Stocks in the US rose to a seven-month high on optimism the US economy is strong enough to withstand higher interest rates.
Economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast employers added 160,000 jobs last month, the same as in April, with the unemployment rate slipping to 4.9 percent.
It has been a tumultuous year for investors in Asia-Pacific equities. The regional index began the year with a 14 percent slump through a February low on concern a devaluation of the yuan would curb global growth and amid prospects for a US rate increase. It then rallied almost 20 percent through this year’s peak in April before retreating again. The gauge was down 4.5 percent from its high for the year through Thursday.
Japan’s TOPIX rose 0.4 percent, paring its first weekly loss in a month to 0.9 percent.
Equities in Tokyo have been pressured after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe failed to provide details of a fiscal stimulus package as he announced a delay to a sales-tax increase.
Fast Retailing Co jumped 6.9 percent after saying sales at its Japanese Uniqlo stores rose 5.9 percent last month from a year earlier, the most since January. Takata Corp rose 1.6 percent. Bain Capital and PAG Asia Capital are evaluating bids for the scandal-ridden air-bag maker, joining KKR & Co among those interested in an offer, according to people familiar with the matter.
Singapore’s Straits Times Index added 0.5 percent.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.8 percent, with volume down about 12 percent from its 30-day average. South Korea’s KOSPI was little changed. New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 Index gained 0.3 percent.
The TAIEX rose 0.05 percent on Saturday to 8,591.57, compared with 8,463.61 on Friday last week, completing a third weekly advance. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) declined 0.31 percent to NT$160.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index added 0.4 percent and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland firms listed in the city advanced 0.6 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.5 percent, capping its first weekly increase in almost two months.
India’s S&P BSE Sensex was poised for a second weekly increase amid optimism the nation’s economic growth will accelerate.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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