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Asian Stocks, Europe Futures Gain on Economy; Gold Hits Record


Nov. 23 (Bloomberg) — Asian stocks and European index futures rose, gold climbed to a record and the Australian dollar led gains in Asian currencies on signs the economic recovery is gathering pace.

Rio Tinto Group, the world’s third-largest mining company, led a 0.9 percent advance in the MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index to 411.01 as of 4:22 p.m. in Tokyo. Gold for immediate delivery jumped as much as 1.4 percent to a record $1,166.66 an ounce as investors sought alternatives to the U.S. dollar, which weakened against all 16 most-traded currencies tracked by Bloomberg. Copper and oil prices also rose.

Economic reports this week will show rising export orders in Taiwan and South Korea and faster economic growth in the Philippines, according to Bloomberg News economist surveys. In the U.S., data will indicate personal spending, durable goods orders and home sales climbed, separate surveys show.

“People remain positive that the recovery is in place,” said Tim Schroeders, who helps manage $1.1 billion at Pengana Capital Ltd. in Melbourne. “But we’re not getting carried away. Valuations are fairly reflective of a bullish economic environment, and you don’t need much in terms of softer-than- anticipated growth or a withdrawal of stimulus measures to make investors nervous.”

Mining companies led a 0.7 percent gain in Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index. Rio Tinto rose 3.6 percent to A$73.78. Newcrest Mining Ltd., Australia’s largest gold producer, added 3.2 percent to A$37.00. Japan’s markets were shut for a holiday.

Australian Dollar, Gold

James Hardie Industries NV, the top seller of home siding in the U.S., surged 6.4 percent to A$7.87 after forecasting full-year earnings at the top of a range of analyst estimates. The National Association of Realtors will report purchases of existing homes rose 2.3 percent in October to an annual pace of 5.7 million, the highest level since July 2007, according to a Bloomberg survey before a report today.

Futures on the Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 50 Index climbed 1.1 percent and Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures added 0.5 percent. The S&P 500, the benchmark gauge for American equities, rallied in the last two hours of trading on Nov. 20, paring its loss for the day to 0.3 percent from as much as 0.7 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 1 percent to 22,689.98 after Wen Wei Po newspaper reported a government economist as saying China’s economy may grow more than 10 percent in the fourth quarter. China Construction Bank Corp. and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., the nation’s two biggest lenders, added more than 2 percent.

The Australian dollar strengthened 0.7 percent to 92.13 U.S. cents. South Africa’s rand rose 1.5 percent to 7.4998 per dollar. The euro climbed 0.7 percent against the greenback to $1.4958. New Zealand’s dollar gained 0.7 percent to 72.92 U.S. cents.

‘Very Upbeat’

Gold has risen 32 percent this year as the Dollar Index, a gauge of the currency’s value against six major trading partners, fell 7.2 percent. The most accurate forecasters predict the U.S. currency will extend its drop as the world’s lowest borrowing costs, rising unemployment and a record $4 trillion of government bond sales in 2009 and 2010 weigh on the dollar.

Copper advanced 2.1 percent to $6,989 a metric ton and zinc gained 2.7 percent to $2,315 a ton.

“Sentiment is very upbeat,” Stefan Graber, a Singapore- based analyst at Credit Suisse Group, said by phone today. “Investor interest has spilled over from those seeking a hedge against the dollar to other buying interests as well, such as central bank purchases.”

Crude oil rose 2.3 percent to $78.45 a barrel in New York on speculation demand will increase as Asia leads the rebound from the first global recession since World War II.

Oil, OECD

“The market’s looking ahead in terms of recovery in demand,” said Toby Hassall, a research analyst with CWA Global Markets Pty in Sydney. “It does not look like the U.S. will come out of this slump before a lot of other economies.”

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on Nov. 19 raised the forecast for 2010 growth in its 30 member countries to 1.9 percent from a previous target of 0.7 percent, with China leading the expansion.

Taiwan’s export orders grew 4 percent in October, compared with a decline of 3 percent in the previous month, according to a Bloomberg News survey of 10 analysts before the statistics bureau releases data today. The Philippines will report accelerating third-quarter economic growth on Nov. 26, a separate survey of six analysts showed. Thailand’s government said today gross domestic product shrank at a slower pace in the third quarter from a year-earlier than in the previous three months.

U.S. Spending

U.S. personal spending increased 0.5 percent after dropping by the same amount in September, according to the median estimate of 61 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News before a Commerce Department report due Nov. 25.

Treasury futures were little changed as the U.S. prepares to sell a record $118 billion of notes in three auctions starting today. The offerings begin with $44 billion of two-year notes, raising speculation yields near a record low will curtail demand. The yield on 10-year futures contracts for December delivery was at 3.65 percent, based on electronic transactions at the Chicago Board of Trade.

The cost of protecting Australian corporate bonds from default fell 2 basis points to 91.5 basis points, according to Citigroup Inc. The Markit iTraxx Australia index peaked at 443 basis points on March 10, CMA DataVision prices show.