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Asia: Stocks rise after posting biggest daily drop in five weeks

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[KUALA LUMPUR] Asian stocks rebounded after the worst decline in five weeks as Japanese shares climbed and material companies led gains on the regional benchmark gauge.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.3 per cent to 134.64 as of 9:02 am in Tokyo after falling the most since June 24 on Wednesday. The measure is shaping up for its worst week since mid-June as Japanese shares slumped after additional stimulus failed to impress investors.

Commodity producers and technology companies led gains on the regional gauge as nine of 10 industry groups advanced. The Bank of England is set to cut rates to a record later Thursday, according to almost all economists in a Bloomberg survey.

Asian equities have been retreating after their best month since March, as the yen gains and concerns grow that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic program isn't working.

Oil descended into a bear market and weak economic data is testing confidence in a global recovery. US jobs data Friday will provide further clues on when the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates.

"The focus is going to be probably on two events, obviously the Bank of England monetary policy meeting coming up and also the non-farm payrolls," said Chris Green, Auckland-based director of economics and strategy at First NZ Capital Group Ltd.

 Asian stocks "take a lead from the US" and could have "more uncertainty with regards to likely Fed policy." Regional Benchmarks Japan's Topix index rose 0.4 per cent, heading for the first advance in four days, as investors await earnings from Toyota Motor Corp, the nation's largest company. South Korea's Kospi Index added 0.4 per cent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 0.3 per cent. New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 Index advanced 0.2 per cent.

Futures on the China A50 Index gained 0.4 per cent in most recent trading, while contracts on the Hang Seng Index rose 0.5 per cent. Hong Kong stocks slumped the most in five weeks on Wednesday as property builders declined, while Shanghai's benchmark index gained for a second day.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index added 0.1 per cent. The US equity benchmark index rebounded Wednesday as energy shares rose with oil. While US corporate earnings growth is improving, S&P companies are still set to post shrinking earnings for a fifth straight quarter.