File picture: Alex Grimm

Hanoi - Emerging-market stocks rose to a one-week high as South Korea reported lower-than-estimated unemployment and investors speculated central banks in the US and Japan will maintain monetary stimulus.

LG Electronics jumped to a one-year high in Seoul after NH Investment & Securities said profit will surge and as global funds resumed buying South Korean equities.

United Rusal rose 2.3 percent in Moscow and Aluminum of China gained the most since January 18 in Hong Kong after the Shanghai Securities News said China may issue policies to boost usage of the material.

Mr Price advanced 3.5 percent in Johannesburg after full-year profit gained.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index added 0.6 percent to 1,022.24 as of 5:03 p.m. in Hong Kong, its second day of gains.

Data today showed South Korea’s unemployment rate fell to 3.2 percent in March, compared with the 3.3 percent estimate by 10 economists in a Bloomberg survey.

The US Federal Reserve will release minutes today of its March meeting when policy makers left the pace of bond purchases unchanged.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said today that “bold monetary easing” will reverse persistent deflation in his nation.

“The South Korean data signal that the country’s economy is improving,” Tran Thi Kim Cuong, Ho Chi Minh City-based head of equities at Manulife Asset Management (Vietnam), said by phone today.

“Stimulus policies are positive catalysts that will help boost equity markets.”

South Korea’s Kospi index added 0.8 percent, the most since March 25.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index jumped 1.2 percent, the most since March 27. India’s S&P BSE Sensex added 1.2 percent.

Vietnam’s VN Index tumbled 2.7 percent, the most among Asian markets, on speculation exchange-traded funds sold shares to rebalance their investment portfolios.


May Polls


The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index rose 0.4 percent to a record. Malaysians will vote May 5 in the nation’s 13th general election, the Election Commission said today.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index was little changed and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland companies listed in Hong Kong added 0.8 percent.

A government report showed Chinese exports grew 10 percent in March, compared with the 11.7 percent median estimate of economists.

Import growth exceeded analyst estimates, leaving an unexpected trade deficit.

Trading volumes for the Jakarta Composite Index were 34 percent below the 30-day average, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Volumes for the Sensex and Taiwan’s Taiex Index were at least 24 percent lower.

Pakistan’s KSE 100 Index rose 0.3 percent, its eleventh day of gains.

The gauge is headed for the longest winning streak since February 2005 amid growing optimism for a peaceful government transition following elections next month.


Ruble Gains


Russia’s ruble climbed for a fifth day against the dollar before a Finance Ministry debt auction.

South Korea’s won rebounded from an eight-month low, rising 0.3 percent against the dollar, as global funds resumed buying shares on speculation tensions with North Korea will ease following a possible missile test.

South Koreans braced for a missile or a nuclear weapons test as soon as today.

Foreign investors bought more South Korean shares than they sold today, the first net purchases in six days, stock exchange data show.

Gauges of consumer-discretionary stocks and utilities in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index rose at least 0.9 percent, the most among 10 industry groups.

The broader index has lost 3.2 percent this year, compared with a 7.5 percent gain in the MSCI World Index of developed-country stocks.

The developing-nations measure trades at 10.3 times estimated 12-month earnings, compared with the MSCI World’s multiple of 13.4, data compiled by Bloomberg show.


LG Jumps


LG Electronics advanced 5.2 percent, its second day of gains.

Operating profit in the first quarter may surge 176 percent from the previous quarter, NH Investment & Securities said in a report today.

Rusal, the world’s biggest aluminum producer, advanced to the highest level since March 14. Aluminum Corp. of China, the nation’s largest supplier of the light metal, rose 3.1 percent, its third day of gains.

China may issue policies to boost aluminum use, the Shanghai Securities News reported, citing Chen Quanxun, chairman of the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association.

Mr. Price, a South African clothing furniture and linen retailer, advanced the most in a month, after the company said full-year earnings rose more than 20 percent.

Solar companies rallied in Hong Kong after First Solar’s earnings forecast beat estimates.

GCL-Poly Energy Holdings, which makes polysilicon used in solar panels, jumped 9.5 percent, the steepest gain since February 14. Solargiga Energy Holdings surged 8.5 percent, the most since January 9.


Solar Earnings


First Solar, the world’s largest thin-film solar manufacturer by output, surged 46 percent yesterday, the most on record, after forecasting sales of $3.8 billion to $4 billion this year.

Earnings will be $4 to $4.50 a share, exceeding the $3.57 average of 23 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

PT Media Nusantara Citra tumbled 6.5 percent in Jakarta, the largest decline in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, as 222.5 million shares changed hands at a discount.

Charoen Pokphand Foods , Thailand’s largest meat producer, sank 4.8 percent in Bangkok to the lowest level since November 2011.

The stock dropped on concern its animal feed business in China will be hurt by the outbreak of bird flu there, Sittidath Prasertrungruang, an analyst at Krungsri Securities Pcl, said by phone. - Bloomberg News