Asian stocks advanced for the first time in seven days, trimming a regional index's worst weekly loss in three months. Hong Kong shares rebounded from a two-month low as investors judged that recent declines were excessive.
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd. and Cnooc Ltd. led gains in Hong Kong after billionaire Lee Shau-kee said he invested more than HK$1 billion ($129 million) in the city's shares yesterday. Benchmarks across the region have retreated this week, except for Pakistan. Japan's markets are closed today for a holiday.
The MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index added 0.6 percent to 508.92 at 11:01 a.m. in Hong Kong, halting a six-day, 8.3 percent drop. The regional benchmark has dropped 4.4 percent this week, its fourth straight loss and the worst weekly performance since the five days ended Aug. 17.
``It's a dead cat bounce,'' said Jason Lee, who helps oversee $1.4 billion at JMF Asset Management in Kuala Lumpur. ``The outlook is still hazy.''
Samsung Electronics Co., the world's largest liquid-crystal display maker, climbed to a one-week high in Seoul after saying it will invest 2.06 trillion won ($2.2 billion) to expand a factory to meet rising demand for LCDs.
Benchmarks advanced in the region except for South Korea, Taiwan, China and Australia. Westpac Banking Group led a fourth straight decline in bank stocks on concern U.S. subprime mortgage losses will weigh on their earnings.
Japan's Topix index slid 0.1 percent yesterday, after having dropped 21 percent from its February peak, making the country the first of the world's 10 biggest stock markets to enter a bear market this year. U.S. markets were shut yesterday for the Thanksgiving holiday.
ICBC, the world's largest lender by market value, added 3.5 percent to HK$5.96 in Hong Kong, after dropping yesterday to the lowest since Oct. 4. Cnooc, China's biggest offshore oil producer, jumped 4.9 percent to HK$13.36. China Mobile Ltd., the world's largest wireless operator, climbed 2.6 percent to HK$129.80.
Lee, chairman of Henderson Land Development Co. and the second-richest man in Hong Kong, said he invested more than HK$1 billion in stocks yesterday, when the Hang Seng Index fell 2.3 percent to the lowest since Sept. 21. The benchmark may reach 33,000 by spring, he added.
By yesterday, the Hang Seng was down 18 percent from a record on Oct. 30.
Samsung gained 2.6 percent to 553,000 won, set for its highest close since Nov. 16. Demand for LCD TV panels measuring 50 inches or more will increase 65 percent annually until 2010, Samsung said yesterday, citing estimates by research firm DisplaySearch.
Westpac, Australia's fourth-largest lender, slid 1.5 percent to A$26.86. National Australia Bank Ltd., the country's biggest, fell 0.9 percent to A$40.11. Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the second biggest, dropped 1.1 percent to A$57.28.
The S& P/ASX 200 Finance Index fell 0.3 percent today in Sydney, taking its weekly decline to 2.4 percent. Losses from U.S. subprime mortgage foreclosures, coupled with slowing economic growth and falling house prices, could reach as much as $300 billion, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said.
``Ongoing concern about the subprime issue is continuing to weigh on the banks as obviously funding issues are still a worry,'' said Shane Oliver, who helps manage the equivalent of $103 billion at AMP Capital Investors in Sydney. ( Bloomberg )