More gains for Asian markets

<p>Asian stocks gained for a third straight day on improved earnings. Around five stocks advanced for each four that fell in the MSCI Asia-Pacific Index, […]</p>

Asian stocks gained for a third straight day on improved earnings. Around five stocks advanced for each four that fell in the MSCI Asia-Pacific Index, which added 0.4% to 125.31 in late afternoon Tokyo trading. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 0.5% today. The Hang Seng Index climbed 1.2%. South Korea’s Kospi Index gained 0.9%, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index swung between gains and losses.

Chinese officials released plans to introduce exchange-traded funds that will enable mainland China investors to access Hong Kong listed stocks. Talk of the moved helped Hong Kong stocks climb higher with expectations the increased capital flows from the mainland will increase demand for Hong Kong securities.

China Coal jumped 8.8% to HK$10.22 in Hong Kong after profit in the six months to June 30 was 7.8% higher than a revised figure for the same period last year. China Minsheng Banking – the nation’s first non-state lender – climbed 4.6% to HK$6.58 after saying first-half net income surged 57% from a year earlier.

Financial stocks were the biggest contributor to the Asia- Pacific gauge’s advance after Australia’s statistics bureau said the wage price index, which measures hourly pay rates excluding bonuses, advanced 0.9% from the previous three months, when it gained 0.8%. Australian companies continued reporting results today with the number of profit results releases expected to peak next week. Global retail real estate group Westfield reported a $732m profit which was in line with expectations, reiterating guidance of 64-65 cents per share this year.

Also in property, Dexus Property Group – Australia’s largest owner and manager of office properties – reported a better than expected result with news of a buy back on existing shares. Energy group Woodside petroleum gained slightly after reporting better than expected first half results, partly due to a lower petroleum tax bill.

Japanese exporters declined after reports showed economic growth in Europe and the U.S. is slowing, hurting the outlook for overseas earnings. Toyota lost 44 yen to 2,855 yen. Sony Corp. – Japan’s biggest exporter of consumer electronics – slid 0.8% to 1,687 yen. Honda Motor – Japan’s third-largest carmaker – sank 2.5% to 2,552 yen.

In energy markets, crude oil for September delivery declined 1.4% to settle at $86.65 a barrel in New York yesterday. The London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six industrial metals including copper and aluminum dropped 0.5%.

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