Asia stocks rise amid Japan rebound as yen pulls back, STI down 0.15%

People walk past an electric quotation board flashing the Nikkei key index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in front of a securities company in Tokyo on July 26.
People walk past an electric quotation board flashing the Nikkei key index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in front of a securities company in Tokyo on July 26. PHOTO: AFP

WELLINGTON/SYDNEY (BLOOMBERG) - Shares in Tokyo snapped a three-day slide on Wednesday (July 27), driving gains in Asia as the yen retreated amid speculation over the outlook for Japanese stimulus.

Gold fell ahead of the Federal Reserve's interest-rate review beginning, while crude oil extended its slump.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.3 per cent as of 9:33 am Tokyo time, headed for its highest close since Nov 5 as the Topix gained 0.7 per cent.

Singapore's Straits Times Index was down 0.15 per cent at 2,929.09 at 9:29 am.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.4 per cent in Sydney, led higher by raw materials producers and energy shares, while South Korea's Kospi index swung between gains and losses. New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 Index dropped 0.1 per cent after reaching a record on Monday.

While economists predict the BOJ will ease policy this week, Finance Minister Taro Aso muddied the waters on Tuesday by damping speculation of an immediate boostvin government support measures, casting doubt over whether Japanese officials will coordinate their stimulus efforts

The Fed reviews rates before Japan, with the US central bank projected to keep borrowing costs on hold Wednesday, despite an uptick in bets on tightening this year.

"The key is whether the BOJ will surprise us again on Friday," Alex Wong, director of asset management at Ample Capital in Hong Kong, said on Bloomberg Radio's First Word Asia programme. "The Japanese central bank has surprised the market several times in the past few years so they are a little bit unpredictable. There may be a disappointment" if the BOJ fails to deliver extra stimulus, he said.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index - which closed little changed on Tuesday - added 0.1 perc ent with Apple shares up about 7 per cent in after-market New York trading on better-than-expected quarterly results. Futures on Hong Kong's Hang Seng and Hang Seng China Enterprises gauges added more than 0.2 per cent in most recent trade, with contracts on the FTSE China A50 Index up 0.1 per cent.

Crude fell a fifth straight day, slipping to US$42.67 a barrel ahead of data on American fuel stockpiles, and gold declined with Australian government debt.