Most Asian Stocks Gain as Weaker Yen Boosts Japan’s Automakers
Most Asian stocks gained, led by Japanese automakers and steel producers as the yen weakened, countering declines by telephone companies, Bloomberg reported.
Honda Motor Co., which gets half its sales from North America, jumped 3.3 percent as the yen traded near the weakest level versus the dollar in three months. Nippon Steel Corp., the world's second-biggest producer, rose 3.7 percent amid speculation output will increase. Telstra Corp., Australia's No. 1 telephone company, lost 2.4 percent after reporting lower profit and its chief executive officer stepped down.
"The yen's decline is certainly boosting sentiment as Japan has been suffering from the double-whammy of a stronger currency and declining global demand," said Lim Chang Gue, a fund manager at Samsung Investment Trust Management Co. in Seoul, which oversees the equivalent to $33 billion. "I'm not that optimistic about stock gains. There's a limit to how much a weaker currency can boost exports and there isn't much to expect from domestic demand either."
Five stocks advanced for every three that declined on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index, which added 0.2 percent to 75.54 as of 9:59 a.m. in Tokyo. The measure gained 1.6 percent since closing at its lowest in more than five years two days ago. The gauge has lost 16 percent in 2009 as recessions in the world's largest economies battered company earnings in Asia.
Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average climbed 1.3 percent. South Korea's Kospi gained 1.5 percent as KT Corp., the country's largest phone and Internet company, won antitrust clearance to merge with affiliate KT Freetel Co.