Asian Stocks Snap Five-Day Plunge After Global Rate Reductions

Asian stocks gained after four of the region's central banks cut interest rates, joining a global effort to limit the economic impact of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. U.S. futures rose.

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. and LG Electronics Inc. climbed more than 4 percent after China, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan lowered borrowing costs, following coordinated rate cuts by the U.S. Federal Reserve and five other central banks. Newcrest Mining Ltd., Australia's largest gold mining company, jumped 15 percent as investors sought safe haven assets. Shares pared gains after the reductions failed to prevent money market rates from rising. Aeon Co. led retailers lower after profit fell as consumer demand slumped.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 1 percent to 92.33 as of 7:01 p.m. in Tokyo, paring gains of 2.8 percent. The advance ended a five-day, 16 percent drop. The index fell 7.4 percent yesterday, the most since April 1990, on concern the credit crisis will topple more banks and slowing growth will cut demand for exports.

Japan's Topix Index rose 0.7 percent to 905.11, led by Nintendo Co. and Mitsubishi Corp., after the measure became the only benchmark index in Asia to fall below book value and the Bank of Japan pumped $20 billion into the financial system. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added 3.3 percent, led by Industrial & Commercial Bank. S&P 500 index futures rose 2.5 percent.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 1.5 percent, led by Commonwealth Bank of Australia after it sold shares at a discount. Indonesian stocks were suspended from trading following yesterday's 10 percent drop. India was closed for a holiday.

The U.S. Standard & Poor's 500 Index lost 1.1 percent to 984.94 overnight, its lowest close since August 2003.,
10/9/2008 6:17:16 AM