Asian stocks head for 5th day of gains amid stimulus optimism

Businessmen walk past a display showing Tokyo's Nikkei Stock Average during the morning trade session in Tokyo, Japan on July 13, 2016.
Businessmen walk past a display showing Tokyo's Nikkei Stock Average during the morning trade session in Tokyo, Japan on July 13, 2016.PHOTO: EPA

SYDNEY (BLOOMBERG) - Asian stocks rose for a fifth day on Friday (July 15), extending the biggest weekly advance since April, ahead of a slew of Chinese economic data and after US equities climbed to a record.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.4 per cent to 133.83 as of 9:08 am in Tokyo, extending this week's gain to 4.4 per cent. Japan's Topix index increased 0.7 per cent.

The yen headed for its biggest weekly drop since 2009 as investors awaited the details of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's recharged stimulus plans following his election victory. The Japanese currency advanced on Friday after a truck drove into a late-night crowd, killing at least 70 people in Nice on France's Mediterranean coast.

More than US$4 trillion has been added to the value of global equities since June 27 as the US economy shows signs of health and speculation mounts that policy makers will boost stimulus to stave off a global slowdown. Japanese shares led gains this week after Abe's party won upper-house elections, winning a fresh mandate to put life into efforts to boost consumer prices and economic output.

"We're seeing better-than-expected growth, particularly in the US economy, and we've got a higher likelihood of central bank stimulus," Michael McCarthy, Sydney-based chief market strategist at CMC Markets, told Bloomberg Radio. "These ideas are opposing but at the moment they are both supporting equities. At some point there is going to have to be a resolution of that."

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 0.4 per cent. New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 Index gained 0.1 percent and South Korea's Kospi index advanced 0.5 per cent.

Singapore Exchange said Southeast Asia's biggest bourse will open as normal Friday. The exchange halted stock trading on Thursday after a technical fault, caused by duplicated trade confirmation messages. It twice notified brokers that it was planning to reopen, once targeting 2 pm and then 4 pm local time, but on both occasions failed to restart trading.

Line Corp was untraded and poised to rise in its first trading day in Tokyo. The messaging company surged 27 per cent in its US debut after listing shares in the biggest technology initial public offering of the year.