Asian Stocks Rise as Japan Advances on Yen; BHP Billiton Drops

Asian stocks rose as a weaker yen boosted Japanese exporters and health-care shares led the advance. BHP Billiton Ltd. slumped in Sydney.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.4 percent to 134.37 as of 9:00 a.m. in Tokyo. Japan’s Topix index added 0.4 percent after the yen slid 0.2 percent against the dollar on Wednesday. Equities were whipsawed this week as commodity prices slumped and amid concern about escalating tension between Russia and Turkey after the downing of a warplane. The focus shifts to U.S. monetary policy next week as investors await the monthly payrolls report. Speculation is also mounting of further stimulus by the European Central Bank.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.8 percent. BHP Billiton slumped 2.3 percent after JPMorgan Chase & Co cut its recommendation on the world’s biggest mining firm and said the company may reduce its dividend by 50 percent next year.

New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 Index added 0.2 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index rose 0.5 percent. Markets in Hong Kong and China have yet to open.

Source: Bloomberg