Asian Stocks to Copper Jump as Yen Weakens; Aussie Climbs

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Asian stocks climbed the most in a month, led by Japan, and the yen weakened on evidence of a pickup in global manufacturing. South Korea’s won strengthened, while U.S. Treasuries declined.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 1.4 percent at 12:25 p.m. in Tokyo. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPA) futures rose 1 percent from Aug. 30 as U.S. markets resume trading today after a three-day break. The Topix Index rallied 2.5 percent as the Japanese currency touched 99.70 per dollar, the weakest since Aug. 2. The won rose 0.4 percent and the 10-year Treasury yield increased four basis points to 2.82 percent.

In the U.S., the Institute for Supply Management is expected to say factory output expanded a third month after gauges from the U.K. to China showed manufacturing is reviving. Australia will keep interest rates at a record low today, according to a Bloomberg survey. Two of the Senate’s most vocal critics of President Barack Obama’s Syria policy urged their colleagues to back use of military force, while saying the president has yet to fully explain his strategy.

“Markets have started the week in a positive frame of mind,” Mike Jones, a currency strategist in Wellington at Bank of New Zealand Ltd., said by e-mail. “Manufacturing data out of China and Europe essentially confirmed the global economy is on the mend.”

About four stocks rose for each that fell on MSCI’s Asian gauge, with industrial and consumer discretionary companies leading the advance. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and Nomura Holdings Inc. lead gains by Japanese financial shares.

China Growth

The Hang Seng Index (HSI) rose 1 percent and the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.5 percent. Premier Li Keqiang said he’s confident China will achieve its economic targets for this year, while Goldman Sachs Group Inc. boosted its 2013 growth forecast for the nation to 7.6 percent from 7.4 percent.

China’s manufacturing expanded in August at the fastest pace in 16 months, an official Purchasing Managers Index showed Sept. 1. Euro-area factory output expanded at a faster pace than initially estimated in August and Spanish production gained for the first time since April 2011, according to data yesterday from Markit Economics.

The ISM manufacturing index for the U.S. will post a reading of 54 for August, according to the median of 80 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The gauge came in at 55.4 for July and 50.9 in June. The 50 level is the threshold for expansion.

Rate Decision

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.3 percent, heading for its highest close since May 20. The nation’s Cash Rate Target will be held at 2.5 percent, according to all 32 estimates in a Bloomberg survey. A report tomorrow is forecast to show Australia’s economy grew 2.5 percent from a year earlier in the second quarter, matching the expansion reported for the previous three months.

The yen weakened 0.2 percent to 99.50 per dollar, after sliding 1.2 percent yesterday. Japan’s currency lost 0.1 percent to 131.21 per euro and was down against all 16 major counterparts tracked by Bloomberg.

South Korea’s Kospi Index (KOSPI) gained 0.6 percent in Seoul, heading for the highest close since June 5. Overseas funds added to their holdings again today after pumping $1.4 billion into local stocks in the last seven trading days, exchange data show. The won climbed as much as 0.6 percent to 1,093.89 per dollar, the strongest level in almost four months.

The Malaysian ringgit added 0.2 percent to 3.2670 per dollar, a fourth straight gain that marks its longest winning streak since April. Malaysia raised fuel prices for the first time since 2010, joining neighboring Indonesia in reducing subsidies to trim a budget deficit.

MSCI’s All Country World Index climbed 0.6 percent yesterday, the most since Aug. 23, as the Stoxx Europe 600 Index jumped 1.9 percent, the most in eight weeks.

Metals Fall

Copper for three-month delivery on the London Metal Exchange fell 0.1 percent today. Nickel slid 0.3 percent and aluminum lost 0.2 percent. Gold was little changed at $1,391.98 an ounce, after losing almost 2 percent over the last three days. Silver retreated 0.3 percent after advancing 2.8 percent yesterday, the most since Aug. 23.

President Obama is seeking approval from Congress for any action against Syria over its use of chemical weapons. Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham urged colleagues yesterday to back use of military force.

Obama will call in the top Democrats and Republicans on the congressional committees that deal with national security matters today and is sending Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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