Asian Stocks Gain for First Time in Five Days

Asian stocks gained for the first time in five days, as a rebound in oil boosted energy producers and technology companies rose on speculation mergers and cost- cutting measures will bolster profits., Bloomberg 1/13/2009 7:12:33 PM

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. rose 2.4 percent in Sydney as crude oil climbed for the first time in six days. Toshiba Corp. and Fujitsu Ltd., Japan’s No. 2 personal computer maker, gained more than 5 percent in Tokyo on speculation the companies are in talks to combine their hard-disk drive businesses. Sony Corp. added 5.8 percent after Merrill Lynch & Co. raised its target price, saying the company may reorganize to lower costs.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 1.4 percent to 87.12 as of 11:34 a.m. in Tokyo. About three stocks rose for each that dropped and all 10 industry groups increased.

The gauge lost 7 percent during the previous four sessions amid growing concern the global recession will fuel losses for the region’s manufacturers. Analysts have slashed their profit estimates for companies included in MSCI’s Asian index by 40 percent since a peak in April, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Growth in the global economy will slow to 2.2 percent this year, a rate equivalent to a global recession,” the International Monetary Fund said in November.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average added 0.6 percent to 8,464.07, led by Sony. All other benchmark indexes rose apart from Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index edged up 0.2 percent in the U.S. yesterday as investors bought up shares trading at low valuations and avoided industrial companies. Futures on the S&P rose 0.6 percent in trading today.