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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Asian Stocks Advance; Lihir Gold, CSR Surge on Takeover Bids

Asian stocks rose, lifting the MSCI Asia Pacific Index for the fourth time in five days, on higher commodity prices gained and takeover offers in Australia.

Mitsubishi Corp., which gets about 40 percent of sales from commodities, rose 1.3 percent in Tokyo. Lihir Gold Ltd. soared 29 percent in Sydney after the company rejected a takeover offer. CSR Ltd. jumped 6.7 percent after Bright Food Group Co., Shanghai’s biggest food company, raised its bid on the company. Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co., Japan’s second-largest life insurer, is poised to gain in the world’s biggest initial public offering in two years when it starts trading in Tokyo later today.

“A gain in commodity prices is showing strong business confidence,” said Mitsushige Akino, who oversees the equivalent of $450 million in Tokyo at Ichiyoshi Investment Management Co.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index increased 0.3 percent to 125.43 as of 10:30 a.m. in Tokyo. The gauge has climbed 9.8 percent from a more-than-two-month low on Feb. 8 as improving U.S. jobs data, a Federal Reserve pledge to keep borrowing costs low and a Japanese bank-lending program eased concern that budget deficits in Europe will derail the revival in the global economy.

The Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 0.5 percent in Japan, where a government report showed confidence among the country’s largest manufacturers rose for a fourth straight quarter. South Korea’s Kospi Index gained 0.8 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.4 percent.

Mitsubishi, BHP

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed. The gauge decreased 0.3 percent yesterday as private reports showed employers unexpectedly cut jobs this month and business activity grew less than forecast.

Mitsubishi increased 1.3 percent to 2,482 yen. BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, rose 0.9 percent to A$43.97. Rio Tinto Group, the world’s third-largest mining company, advanced 1.3 percent to A$79.40.

Crude oil for May delivery surged 1.7 percent to $83.76 a barrel yesterday in New York, the highest settlement since October 2008. The London Metals Index, a measure of six metals including copper and zinc, gained 0.2 percent yesterday, rising for the fifth straight day. The gauge has risen 6.2 percent since March 24.

Lihir Gold, the second-largest gold mining company on the Australian stock exchange, surged 29 percent to A$3.92. The company said a A$9.2 billion ($8.4 billion) cash and stock takeover from Newcrest Mining Ltd. was inadequate. Newcrest sank 2 percent to A$32.16.

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