Asian Stocks Rise

Asian stocks climbed, extending the regional benchmark index’s biggest monthly rally since 1998, on better-than-estimated U.S. economic reports and earnings from Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., Bloomberg 3/26/2009 5:52:26 AM

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index has rallied 21 percent from a five-year low on March 9, technically entering a bull market. Sony Corp., which gets a quarter of its sales from the U.S., surged 7.4 percent in Tokyo after U.S. durable-goods orders rose the most in more than a year. Hong Kong’s Hutchison, billionaire Li Ka-shing’s biggest company, added 3.3 percent. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. soared 15 percent as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. agreed to extend a lockup on its shareholding.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 1.5 percent to 85.60 as of 7:16 p.m. in Tokyo. The gauge jumped 14 percent in March, the biggest monthly gain since October 1998, when governments were cutting interest rates to alleviate the Asian financial crisis.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 1.8 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 3.6 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 1 percent as the central bank said the country wasn’t at risk of a U.S.-style subprime crisis. All markets advanced except New Zealand and Sri Lanka.