Asian Stocks Rise

Asian stocks gained for a second day, led by commodity and construction companies, after China’s Premier Wen Jiabao said the country’s economic growth target for this year is within reach., Bloomberg 3/5/2009 5:35:06 AM

BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company, climbed 4.4 percent in Sydney and Komatsu Ltd., the world’s No. 2 maker of earthmoving equipment, jumped 3.8 percent in Tokyo on speculation demand for metals and industrial machinery will rise. Mazda Motor Corp., Japan’s No. 4 carmaker, surged 11 percent as the yen weakened. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index erased gains after Wen refrained from announcing an expansion of a 4 trillion yuan ($585 billion) spending package.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.5 percent to 72.68 as of 7:22 p.m. in Tokyo. Almost two stocks rose for each one that fell. The gauge slumped 49 percent in the past year as the financial crisis dragged the world’s largest economies into recession, hurting profits at companies from BHP to Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s largest automaker.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average climbed 2 percent. All markets rose except Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 1 percent, after rising 1.3 percent earlier. China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose 1 percent, paring a 2 percent gain.

Europe’s Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index slipped 2.2 percent to 163.94 at 12:50 p.m. in London. The gauge rebounded from a 12- year low yesterday, posting its biggest gain of 2009 on optimism China would broaden efforts to boost growth in the world’s third- largest economy.