Asian Stocks Advance

Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index set for its biggest monthly gain in ten years, amid optimism governments worldwide will succeed in reviving lending and global growth., Bloomberg 3/25/2009 5:39:09 AM

Commonwealth Bank of Australia climbed 2.9 percent in Sydney as the government offered to guarantee as much as $27 billion of state bonds. Tokyo Electric Power Co., Japan’s largest power company, rose 4.2 percent a day before its shares trade without the right to its latest dividend. Panasonic Corp., the world’s biggest maker of consumer electronics, slid 3.5 percent in Tokyo as Japan’s exports sank by a record last month and Sanyo Electric Co. forecast a loss.

Five stocks advanced for every four that declined on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index, which rose 0.5 percent to 84.32 at 7:19 p.m. in Tokyo. The gauge rallied 19 percent through yesterday from a five-year low on March 9 amid speculation the worst of the financial crisis is over.

Japan’s Topix Index gained 0.7 percent, while India’s Sensitive Index jumped 2.1 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index lost 2.1 percent. All other stock markets in Asia rose except China, Indonesia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.

European stocks fell for the first time in five days as German business confidence slid to the lowest level in 26 years and Siemens AG said markets have become significantly worse.” Asian shares rose and U.S. futures fluctuated before reports on durable-goods orders and housing.

Siemens, Europe’s biggest engineering company, lost 6.5 percent. Rio Tinto Group and Anglo American Plc slid more than 2 percent as Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc advised selling the shares and copper declined. Commonwealth Bank of Australia added 2.9 percent as the government offered to guarantee as much as $27 billion of state bonds.

Europe’s Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index decreased 0.9 percent to 176.61 at 11:41 a.m. in London. The regional gauge has gained 12 percent since March 9 as Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. said they made money in the first two months of 2009 and U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner unveiled plans to rid banks of toxic assets.

The Stoxx 600 swung between gains and losses at least eight times today after fluctuating more than 20 times yesterday as investors assessed whether Geithner’s plan will spur growth. The Ifo institute in Munich said today its business climate index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, dropped to 82.1. That’s the worst reading since November 1982.