Asian stocks fluctutate as commodities gain

Asian stocks fluctuated as commodities producers climbed on higher oil and metal prices, while Japanese makers of cars and motorcycles fell after Yamaha Motor Co. and Suzuki Motor Corp. reported earnings.

BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, and Rio Tinto Group both rose more than 3 percent in Sydney. Suzuki, Japan’s second-biggest maker of minicars, tumbled 5 percent in Tokyo after saying profit was almost wiped out and Yamaha, the world’s No. 2 maker of motor bikes, sank 11 percent after forecasting a wider loss. HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe’s biggest bank, gained 6.6 percent in Hong Kong after reporting profit that exceeded analysts’ estimates.

“Most banks are reporting positive earnings, but the fundamental story has not changed,” Hans Goetti, who oversees more than $10 billion as chief investment officer of LGT Bank in Liechtenstein (Singapore) Ltd., said in an interview. “You still have a lot of toxic assets on the banks’ balance sheets. We still need to restructure the economy over time.”

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed at 113.24 as of 2:03 p.m. in Tokyo, paring an increase of as much as 1.1 percent after Yamaha reported earnings. About as many stocks advanced as declined.

The gauge had risen in 14 of the last 15 days through yesterday. The index added 15 percent in the period as earnings from Apple Inc. and Lafarge SA to Nissan Motor Co. and Samsung Electronics Co. exceeded analysts’ estimates.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average climbed 0.5 percent to 10,405.22. Most Asian benchmarks open for trading advanced.

Yamaha, Suzuki, BHP

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.3 percent today. The gauge advanced 1.5 percent and closed above 1,000 for the first time since November in New York yesterday. The MSCI World Index added 2 percent yesterday, its steepest increase in almost three weeks, after reports from China, Europe and the U.S. showed an improved outlook for manufacturing.

Yamaha had the steepest drop today in the MSCI World Index, slumping 11 percent to 1,086 yen after forecasting a fiscal first-half net loss that’s more than four times its previous projection.

Suzuki fell the most in the Nikkei 225 after saying first- quarter net income dropped 92 percent. The shares sank 5 percent to 2,300 yen. A group of transportation companies had the steepest decline among 33 industries in Japan’s Topix index.

BHP Billiton gained 3 percent to A$39.22. Rio Tinto Ltd., the world’s third-largest mining company, climbed 4.6 percent to A$63.08. Komatsu Ltd., the world’s second-largest maker of earthmoving machinery, rose 1.1 percent to 1,577 yen in Tokyo.

A gauge of six metals in London gained 4.9 percent to a level not seen since Oct. 3. Crude oil rallied 3.1 percent to $71.58 a barrel in New York yesterday, the highest settlement since June 12.

Source: Bloomberg

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