Asian stocks rise despite uncertainties in US debt ceiling

<p>Asian stocks pared yesterday’s losses as solid corporate earnings helped push prices higher. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index increased 0.5% 138.33 at noon in Tokyo. […]</p>

Asian stocks pared yesterday’s losses as solid corporate earnings helped push prices higher. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index increased 0.5% 138.33 at noon in Tokyo. The measure rose 2.5% last week, erasing the regional benchmark index’s loss for the year, as steps by European leaders toward easing the region’s sovereign debt crisis, including fresh aid for Greece, boosted the earnings outlook for Asia’s banks and exporters.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average was little changed after paring earlier gains while South Korea’s Kospi index increased 0.1%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 0.7%. In economic news, Bank of Korea Deputy Governor Kim Jae Chun said economic growth will pick up in the second half and exports are pretty strong, leaving room to concentrate on quelling inflation.

South Korea will release its preliminary gross domestic product data tomorrow. The economy probably expanded 3.5% from a year earlier, less than the 4.2% gain in the previous quarter. In Australia, Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens said the nation’s subdued household spending will likely rebound at some point as consumers gain confidence in the sustainability of mining-led growth. Australia is due to report second quarter CPI figures tomorrow. 

Among companies posting gains, HSBC Holdings – Europe’s biggest bank – climbed 0.2% in Hong Kong. Toy supplier Li & Fung – which supplies U.S. retailers – managed a modest 0.1% rise. Canon – the world’s largest camera maker – led exporters higher as it advanced 2.4% after boosting its profit forecast on higher sales, even as the yen strengthened against the dollar. In Sydney, BHP Billiton – the world’s No. 1 mining company by market value – advanced 1% as copper and gold prices rose.

In commodities, immediate-delivery of gold was little changed at US$1,614 an ounce at noon in Singapore after President Barack Obama said that the nation’s burgeoning debt levels threatened to do serious damage to the economy. Spot gold advanced to a record US$1,624 yesterday.Corn and soybean futures slumped the most in three weeks on speculation that rain and cooler weather will bolster crop development in the U.S., the world’s biggest producer.Corn futures for December delivery fell 11 cents, or 1.6%, to US$6.745 a bushel at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest drop since July 1. The price has jumped 75% in the past 12 months.

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