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Monday, April 5, 2010

Asia Stocks, Commodities Rise

Asian stocks and commodities rose as U.S. economic reports boosted investor optimism that demand in the world’s largest economy is recovering.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.2 percent to 126.74 as of 12:18 p.m. in Tokyo, driven by gains in Japan as markets in Australia, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and New Zealand are closed for holidays. Asian bond risk fell while copper prices climbed to a 20-month high. Malaysia’s ringgit rose to the strongest since July 2008 after the government said exports increased for a third-straight month. Futures for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index increased 0.4 percent.

U.S. payrolls rose last month by the most in three years, a “solid report” indicating “the economy is now creating jobs,” Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said in a Bloomberg Television interview. A private report today may show U.S. service industries expanded for a third month.

“Overall, we are seeing positive signs about the global economy,” said Hiroaki Muto, a senior economist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Co., which manages $111 billion. “While developing nations are leading global growth, they are waiting for the U.S. to rebound. Recent reports are suggesting that the U.S. labor market and consumer spending are improving.”

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average climbed 0.5 percent, led by exporters on optimism the weaker yen will boost the value of overseas sales. The currency weakened to as low as 94.79 per dollar, the lowest level since Aug. 24.

Growth Optimism

Canon Inc., which gets 28 percent of its revenue in the Americas, climbed 2.4 percent to 4,505 yen. Toyota Motor Corp., which derives 31 percent of its revenue in North America, increased 1.3 percent to 3,825 yen.

Toshiba Corp., Japan’s biggest memory-chip maker, gained 0.6 percent to 507 yen after the Nikkan Kogyo newspaper reported the company will double annual production capacity of electric- vehicle motors.

Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan said yesterday on ABC’s “This Week” the chances the economy will retrench after recovering from the worst recession since the 1930s “have fallen very significantly in the last two months.”

“There is increasing growth optimism now given that the job situation in the U.S. is getting a little more relaxed,” said Roger Groebli, Singapore-based head of financial-market analysis at LG Capital Management, part of the group that oversees $84 billion. “Exporters will benefit from that.”

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