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Asian stocks follow US equities higher as energy shares climb

Tuesday, February 23, 2016 - 08:22

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[SYDNEY] Asian stocks rose for a second day, following US equities higher, as gains in oil buoyed energy companies and Japanese shares climbed after the yen weakened.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.4 per cent to 121.07 as of 9:00 am in Tokyo, with material and energy shares leading the advance. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 1.5 per cent Monday as a surge in oil prices helped lessen concern that a slowdown in global growth is deepening.

Data showed manufacturing in Chicago improved more than expected, before reports on US consumer confidence, home sales, durable goods, economic growth and personal spending this week.

"We've taken a step back from the market turmoil of earlier this year," said Tony Farnham, Sydney-based strategist at Patersons Securities Ltd.

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"We've been reminded that the US economy, while not shooting the lights out big time, is not falling back into recession either. A positive overnight US trading session should make for early buying interest."

Japan's Topix index gained 0.8 per cent after the yen fell 0.3 per cent against the US dollar on Monday amid reduced demand for haven assets. The measure has advanced 9.5 per cent from a low on Feb 12.

South Korea's Kospi index rose 0.6 per cent, as did Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index. New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 Index increased 0.4 per cent.

Futures on the Hang Seng Index, the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index and the FTSE China A50 Index each gained 0.5 per cent in most recent trading.

US crude pared some gains to trade at US$33.30 a barrel after jumping 6.2 per cent on Monday. The International Energy Agency said a global surplus will persist into next year and limit any chance of a short-term price rebound.

BHP Climbs

BHP Billiton Ltd rose 2.9 per cent in Sydney trading even after making a larger-then-expected cut to its dividend, lowering the payout for the first time in 15 years, as the world's biggest mining company seeks to protect its balance sheet and credit ratings amid a price collapse that saw first- half profits tumble 92 per cent.

Futures on the S&P 500 slipped 0.1 per cent. The underlying equity measure closed at an almost seven-week high on Monday.

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