Emerging stocks rise to two-week high

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Manila - Emerging-market stocks advanced, sending the benchmark index to a two-week high, after higher commodity prices boosted producers and South Korea’s economy grew at the fastest pace in two years.

Cnooc Ltd. rose 2.9 percent in Hong Kong and Gold Fields Ltd. jumped to a three-week high in Johannesburg.

Hyundai Motor Co. surged the most in a year in Seoul after profit beat analysts’ estimates.

The South Korean won strengthened and the Chinese yuan climbed to a 19-year high.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index added 0.8 percent to 1,025.92 as of 4:37 p.m. in Hong Kong, the highest level since April 11.

A gauge of energy stocks has risen 4.8 percent since touching a 10-month low last week.

Oil traded near a two-week high and gold climbed to the highest level since April 15, when it completed its worst plunge in three decades.

Data today showed South Korea’s economy grew by a faster-than-estimated 0.9 percent last quarter as the government front-loaded spending.

“Rising oil prices is taken positively as it signals demand and economic activity may be picking up,” said Jonathan Ravelas, chief market strategist at Manila-based BDO Unibank Inc.

“South Korea’s economic data boosts the growth outlook for emerging markets.”

South Korea’s Kospi Index rose 0.8 percent to a three-week high.

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland companies listed in Hong Kong added 1.3 percent while the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.9 percent. India’s S&P BSE Sensex increased 0.7 percent to the highest level since March 15.

The Jakarta Composite Index lost 0.6 percent.

Dubai Index

The Dubai Financial Market General Index rose a fifth day, gaining 0.6 percent to the highest level since November 2009.

Russia’s Micex Index lost 0.1 percent, snapping a two-day gain.

All 10 industry groups in MSCI’s emerging index advanced, with gauges of consumer-discretionary companies and energy stocks leading gains.

Cnooc, China’s biggest offshore oil producer, rose to the highest level since April 3.

South African mining company Gold Fields climbed 5.2 percent, its second day of gains.

OAO Severstal, a Russian steelmaker, gained 2 percent in Moscow after the stock was raised to buy at Deutsche Bank AG.

Hyundai Motor, South Korea’s largest carmaker, surged 5.7 percent after it reported first-quarter profit that exceeded analysts’ estimates, driven by record sales in China.

Hyundai Wia Corp., which manufactures auto parts, jumped 8.7 percent in Seoul, the steepest advance in the developing-nations measure.

The won rose 0.5 percent to the highest level in more than a week against the dollar.

South Korea’s gross domestic product gained 0.9 percent from the previous three months after a 0.3 percent increase in the fourth quarter, the Bank of Korea said today.

That exceeded the median 0.7 percent estimate of 15 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

Yuan Gains

The yuan climbed 0.13 percent as the Chinese central bank set a record reference rate amid growing usage of the currency for worldwide trade and investment.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index has lost 2.8 percent this year, compared with an 8.6 percent increase in the MSCI World Index of developed-country stocks.

The emerging-markets measure trades at 10.3 times 12-month projected profit, compared with the MSCI World’s 13.6 times, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Jet Airways India Ltd. surged 11 percent in Mumbai after Etihad Airways PJSC agreed to buy a 24 percent stake in the Indian carrier.

PT Astra International, Indonesia’s biggest automotive retailer, sank 6.4 percent, the biggest decline in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, after the company’s first-quarter profit dropped 7 percent. - Bloomberg News


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