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[WELLINGTON] Asian stocks rose a fifth day, on track for their best week in three months as the prospect of more Japanese stimulus buoyed equities in Tokyo. Nickel and crude oil retreated with the Australian and New Zealand dollars ahead of a raft of Chinese economic data.
Japan's Topix index was set for its longest run of gains since November, rising to a five-week high amid speculation officials will resort to so-called helicopter money to bolster Asia's second-largest economy. The yen headed for its worst week since 1999 as the kiwi fell for a third day, while the pound extended gains after the Bank of England unexpectedly stood pat on interest rates. US crude swung back to losses, lingering below US$46 a barrel as nickel and aluminum slipped. Most government bonds tracked losses in Treasuries.
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 any negative impact from the UK's vote to leave the European Union.
While the growing pool of negative-yielding bonds is also burnishing the appeal of riskier assets, BlackRock Inc's Laurence D Fink said the stock rally won't be justified unless earnings pick up. The season got off to a promising start this week, with JPMorgan Chase & Co and Alcoa Inc exceeding estimates along with Daimler AG in Europe.
"Asian markets are all set to open higher today in the wake of the strong US session - risk sentiment is strong," Angus Nicholson, a market analyst in Melbourne at IG Ltd, said in an e-mail to clients. JPMorgan's earnings "reassured investors that US bank profits were not completely shriveling up in the low interest-rate environment," he added.
China updates second-quarter gross domestic product Friday, and releases data on factory output, retail sales and fixed assets. Singapore also reports on retail sales, Indonesian trade figures are due, and Thailand updates on foreign reserves. The Philippines reports on remittances.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.4 per cent as of 9:16am Tokyo time, rising 4.3 per cent this week, the most since April. The Topix climbed a fifth straight day as well, rising 0.6 per cent, on track for its best week since 2009.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.3 per cent, led higher by energy shares and banks, while the Kospi gauge in Seoul increased 0.5 per cent.