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Asia Stocks Extend Global Rally on Growth Optimism

Markets1

Stocks in Asia joined a global equities rally as corporate results reignited investors’ optimism in economic growth. A surge in commodities prices bolstered raw-materials companies, while gold extended losses.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index headed toward the highest closing level since September as equity markets from Tokyo to India climbed after the S&P 500 Index closed at a record. BHP Billiton Ltd. paced gains in commodities shares and iron ore extended a rally. The yen edged higher after sliding Tuesday. The Aussie fell after weaker-than-expected inflation data, while oil retreated after a four-day advance.

Investors are turning more optimistic as earnings reports top forecasts amid signs of growing demand across the globe. Japan snapped a 14-month run of falling exports, helped by a surge in shipments to China. Traders are also encouraged as U.S. President Donald Trump begins to offer more details of his policies, including laying out incentives such as tax cuts for top automakers to attract new plants in America.

“The fact that the U.S. economy is strong is positive for the global economy, and right at this moment, investor sentiment is tipped toward hope that President Trump is trying something new,” said Chihiro Ohta, a Tokyo-based senior strategist at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc.

Corporate earnings are offering relief after traders began to unwind a rally in the dollar and equities amid concern that gains after Trump’s election had gone too far. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. lifted its sales forecast as Chinese spending held strong and BHP reported a gain in second-quarter iron ore production after prices soared on demand from China. D.R. Horton Inc., the largest U.S. homebuilder, topped analysts’ estimates as job growth fueled buyer demand.

Here are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

• The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was up 0.4% as of 3:28 p.m. in Tokyo, poised for the highest close since Sept. 29.

• Japan’s Topix index jumped 1.1%, following a two-day drop. Datashowing a gain in exports help Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to revive the economy, feeding corporate profits and, ideally, wage gains.

• Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index increased 0.3%, while the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.2%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.4%. India’s Sensex rose for a third day, jumping 0.5% to the highest level since November.

• The Kospi index advanced 0.2%. Data showed South Korea’s economy expanded at the slowest pace in more than a year in the fourth quarter.

• Futures on the S&P 500 Index rose 0.1% after the benchmark index climbed 0.7% on Tuesday. The Nasdaq Composite Index also advanced to a record high.

Currencies

• The yen rose 0.1% to 113.68 per dollar following a 1% slide the previous session. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was up 0.1% too, though it has fallen for four straight weeks, the longest retreat since February.

• The Mexican peso reversed early gains after a New York Times report said Trump will sign an executive order for a border wall to be built.

• The Australian dollar fell 0.6%, erasing gains after data showed consumer-price growth weakened.

Bonds

• The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped one basis point after a seven point surge to 2.47% on Tuesday.

• The rate on 10-year Australian bonds climbed four basis points to 2.73% after dropping for two straight sessions.

Commodities

• Gold slid 0.4% to $1,203.96 an ounce after sliding 0.8% Tuesday. The metal reached the highest level since November earlier in the week.

• Iron-ore futures increased 1.2% to near the highest level in more than two years. Speculation of sustained Chinese demand for imports is outweighing repeated warnings from analysts that the rally is overextended and will unravel.

• Oil futures lost 0.2% to $53.01. Industry data showed U.S. crude stockpiles expanded while Libya increased output to the highest since 2014 as the country restores production following internal conflict.