Westpac Banking Corp., Australia’s largest bank by market value, gained 3 percent after the central bank slashed its inflation forecast, raising speculation it may cut interest rates. Mizuho Financial Group Inc., Japan’s second-largest bank, gained 2.3 percent as a U.S. Treasury official said details of a financial-recovery plan will be announced in three days. Lenovo Group Ltd., the world’s fourth-largest personal-computer maker, surged 11 percent in Hong Kong after a management reshuffle.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 1.1 percent to 83.48 at 8:02 p.m. in Tokyo, with three stocks rising for each that fell. The gauge has dropped 6.8 percent in 2009, extending last year’s record 43 percent tumble, as the credit crisis dragged the world’s biggest economies into recession.
The measure added 0.4 percent this week, as lower forecasts from companies including Mizuho offset new stimulus efforts from Japan, Australia and China. Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s largest automaker, today widened its loss prediction on slowing demand in the U.S. and in Japan. Its shares pared gains.
All markets rose today. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average added 1.6 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 4 percent.