Most Asian Stocks Advance After U.S. Retail Sales Boost Exporters’ Outlook

Posted Červen 15th, 2011 by Billabongboardshortscloths

Asian stocks swung between gains and losses after a report showed U.S. retail sales were better than forecast, boosting the outlook for exporters. QBE Insurance Group Ltd. (QBE) slumped after issuing a profit forecast.

Honda Motor Co., a carmaker that gets about 84 percent of sales outside Japan, climbed 1.3 percent in Tokyo, while rival advanced 1.2 percent. Billabong International Ltd., a surfwear maker that gets almost half its revenue from the Americas, gained 1.5 percent in Sydney. QBE Insurance dropped 3.5 percent after Australia’s largest insurer by market value forecast that its insurance margin in the first half will be lower than last year.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed at 132.85 as of 11:30 a.m. in Tokyo, having swung between gains and losses at least 15 times. About the same number of stocks rose as fell on the gauge.

“Investors were pleased to see U.S. retail sales beat expectations, despite still being negative,” said Tim Schroeders, who helps manage about $1 billion in global equities at Pengana Capital Ltd. in Melbourne. “QBE’s profit warning last night highlights the risks that remain for some companies ahead of reporting season.”

Japan’s Nikkei 225 (NKY) Stock Average gained 0.1 percent. South Korea’s Kospi Index slipped 0.3 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index also declined 0.2 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.2 percent.
Retail Sales

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped 0.3 percent today. In New York, the index gained 1.3 percent yesterday, the most since April 20, after better-than-estimated data on American retail sales and Chinese industrial production.

The Commerce Department in Washington yesterday reported sales at retailers fell 0.2 percent in May, less than forecast, indicating American consumers are weathering higher gasoline costs. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a drop of 0.5 percent. Another report showed U.S. wholesale costs rose last month.

Also boosting the global economic recovery, China reported yesterday that its industrial production rose 13.3 percent last month compared with a 13.1 percent forecast.

Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) , the world’s biggest carmaker by revenue, gained 0.3 percent to 3,240 yen in Tokyo. Honda rose 1.3 percent to 2,970 yen. Hino Motors Ltd., a maker of trucks and buses, gained 4.4 percent to 453 yen after saying it will post a 12 billion yen ($149 million) net profit this fiscal year, compared with a loss of 10 billion yen last year. Billabong advanced 1.5 percent to A$6.24 in Sydney.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 3.5 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a gain of 2.4 percent by the S&P 500 and a drop of 1.8 percent by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark were valued at 13.5 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13 times for the S&P 500 and 10.9 times for the Stoxx 600.

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