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Asia: Stocks follow US higher as energy producers advance

Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index heading for its third day of gains, as energy producers climbed amid renewed global appetite for riskier assets.

[SINGAPORE] Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index heading for its third day of gains, as energy producers climbed amid renewed global appetite for riskier assets.

Inpex Corp. added 4 per cent in Tokyo, pacing gains among energy producers, after crude oil futures traded near a three- week high. Nissan Motor Co. advanced 2.6 per cent after increasing its full-year profit forecast. Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd jumped 4.7 per cent, the most since July 9, after China's central bank unintentionally sparked a surge in the nation's stock market by publishing five-month-old comments from governor Zhou Xiaochuan that said a link between exchanges in Shenzhen and Hong Kong would start in 2015.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 1.2 per cent to 135.11 at 4:25 p.m. in Hong Kong. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index climbed on Tuesday to within 1 per cent of its all-time high. US stocks have reversed all of their losses since China shocked global markets by unexpectedly devaluing the yuan in August, as concern over the slowdown in Asia's biggest economy abates and traders refocus on the outlook for central-bank stimulus.

"We still have some uncertainties over when US interest rates will start to climb but it seems the clouds of pessimism around China's economy is starting to clear," said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist in Sydney at CMC Markets Plc. "It's unlikely we'll see a hard landing in China. There's been demonstrated commitment from authorities in China to underpin the economy. We're certainly seeing good support for risk assets."

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Japan's Topix index rose 0.9 per cent as markets in Tokyo resumed trading following a holiday on Tuesday. Japan Post Holdings Co surged 26 per cent from its initial public offering price, while the insurance unit soared 56 per cent and the banking unit jumped 15 per cent in their trading debuts today in the world's biggest IPO this year.

China's stocks rose the most in seven weeks, led by financial and technology companies, after the government unveiled its five-year plan to bolster the economy and investors speculated on the start of a trading link between Shenzhen and Hong Kong. The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 4.3 per cent, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland companies in Hong Kong jumped 2.7 per cent.

Annual growth should be no less than 6.5 per cent in the next five years to realize the goal to double 2010 gross domestic product and per capita income by 2020, President Xi Jinping said late Tuesday, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. China will also seek to increase the yuan's convertibility in an orderly manner by 2020 and change the way it manages currency policy, according to the five-year plan.

Regional Gauges Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index advanced 2.2 per cent. South Korea's Kospi index added 0.2 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.1 per cent. New Zealand's S&P NZX 50 Index rose 0.8 per cent. Taiwan's Taiex index climbed 1.7 per cent. Singapore's Straits Times Index increased 1.1 per cent.

E-mini futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were little changed. The underlying US equity gauge gained 0.3 per cent on Tuesday to a three-month high as beaten-down commodity producers continued to pace the recovery from a third- quarter rout.

Traders are pricing in a 50 per cent chance of liftoff at the Fed's December meeting. Fed Chair Janet Yellen, Vice Chair Stanley Fischer and New York Fed's William Dudley are all scheduled to deliver remarks on Wednesday.