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Asian stocks rise as Japanese equities gain after G-20 meeting

Monday, February 29, 2016 - 08:57

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[SYDNEY] Asian stocks rose as Tokyo shares rallied for a third day and Group of 20 leaders pledged to use fiscal policy to strengthen growth and job creation.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.4 per cent to 120.08 as of 9:09 am in Tokyo. Investors are looking for clues as to the strength of the global economy after finance chiefs from the world's top economies committed their governments over the weekend to doing more to boost global growth amid mounting concerns over the potency of monetary policy.

Japan's most recent round of monetary easing was a focus of the meeting, amid concern it could spur a round of competitive currency devaluations, said Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem.

"Everyone's focused on those G-20 comments and a lot of that was aimed at Japan," Chris Weston, Melbourne-based chief market strategist at IG Ltd, told Bloomberg TV.

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Market voices on:

"There's very little the Bank of Japan can do now to try and promote inflation expectations. They are not going to intervene in the currency market - that's pretty clear now. They would get the wrath of the world on their back if they decide to do so. It's not really going their way and there's not really a lot they can do."

The G-20 members reaffirmed they will refrain from competitive devaluations, and - in new language - agreed to consult closely on currencies. Chinese manufacturing data due Tuesday and the monthly US jobs report Friday are just two of a string of closely watched economic data points scheduled to be released this week.

Asia's benchmark index is down 9 per cent in 2016, compared with a 4.7 per cent slide in the S&P 500. Slumping commodities prices, a surprise devaluation of the yuan and a move into negative rates from the BOJ roiled equity markets at a time the Federal Reserve is considering how fast it can lift US interest rates without choking off the economic recovery.

Japan's Topix index advanced 1.1 per cent. The yen traded at 113.71 per dollar after falling 0.9 per cent Friday.

South Korea's Kospi index rose 0.1 per cent and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.5 per cent.

New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 Index climbed 0.3 per cent. Taiwan is closed for a holiday.

Futures on Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.1 per cent, while contracts on the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland firms listed in the city fell 0.1 per cent.

Futures on the FTSE China A50 Index added 0.1 per cent. Earnings Monday are due from firms including China Everbright International Ltd, a developer of water and environmental protection projects.

Futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were little changed. The S&P 500 fell 0.2 per cent Friday in New York, after rising as much as 0.6 per cent. Higher growth and inflation readings helped spur a stronger dollar, sending some companies with significant overseas business lower.

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