Asian stocks were generally up on Thursday morning after Australia’s unemployment rate declined and National Australia Bank Ltd. reported an increase in profit. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell from a four-year high.
National Australia Bank Ltd gained 1.1 per cent as the lender reported an increase in first-quarter profit. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. lost 4.4 per cent in Sydney after cutting its profit forecast on declining ratings for shows such as “American Idol” and “X Factor.”
Kubota Corp. lost 4 per cent, leading declines on the Nikkei 225, as profit at the Japanese tractor maker missed analysts’ estimates.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 0.1 per cent to 133.32 as of 7:35am Thailadn time, before markets opened in China and Hong Kong. About the same numbers of shares rose and fell on the gauge. Japan’s Nikkei 225 lost 0.5 per cent, retreating from the highest level since the month that Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. filed for the biggest bankruptcy in US history.
“We have some fundamental support and now we’re seeing some genuinely good earnings numbers,” said Nader Naeimi, Sydney-based head of dynamic asset allocation at AMP Capital Investors Ltd, which has about $126 billion under management. “But we have had a strong rally in a short space of time, so a correction isn’t unexpected. Many investors that have missed out on the rally are waiting on the sidelines for an opportunity to buy.”
The benchmark regional equities gauge gained 8.9 per cent in the three months through Wednesday, led by a surge in Japanese shares as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s campaign for aggressive monetary policy easing weakened the yen, boosting the earnings outlook for exporters.