Asian stocks held Tuesday’s jump as an unexpected contraction in American manufacturing added to speculation that the pace of Federal Reserve rate increases will be gradual.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.1 percent to 134.25 as of 9:03 a.m. in Tokyo, with about the same number of shares gaining and falling. The measure climbed 1.8 percent on Tuesday to pare its 2015 drop to 2.7 percent. The Institute for Supply Management’s index of U.S. manufacturing dropped to 48.6, the lowest level since June 2009, as elevated inventories led to cutbacks in orders and production.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 0.5 percent ahead of a reading on the nation’s third-quarter economic growth. Gross domestic product increased 0.8 percent in the period from three months earlier, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists.
Japanese stocks rose as U.S. economic data provided more support for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates next month, boosting the dollar against the yen.
The Topix index climbed 0.5 percent to 1,601.79 at the trading break in Tokyo, with construction stocks and precision-instrument makers leading gains while paper makers declined. Volume on the measure was 9 percent below the 30-day intraday average. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average added 0.6 percent to 19,959.26, on course for its highest close in three months. The yen traded at 122.64 per dollar after weakening on Wednesday as a report showed U.S. durable goods orders rose more than expected.
Orders for U.S. non-military capital goods excluding aircraft rose 1.3 percent, the most in three months. Traders are pricing in a 72 percent chance of a rate hike at the Fed meeting on Dec. 15-16.