Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark heading for its fourth straight daily gain, as consumer and industrial shares led advances.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.7 percent to 137.61 as of 9:32 a.m. in Tokyo. Japan’s Topix (TPX) index added 1.1 percent as the yen held last week’s losses versus the dollar and even as data showed industrial production unexpectedly fell 2.3 percent in February from January. A three percentage-point sales-tax increase takes effect in Japan tomorrow.
The regional benchmark index lost 0.8 percent this month and 3.3 percent this year through last week with gauges in Japan and Hong Kong declining the most among developed markets. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks in Chicago today as investors await payrolls data due later in the week to assess the outlook for U.S. interest rates.
“All eyes will be on U.S. and global activity data culminating in U.S. payrolls Friday,” Mark Smith, a senior economist in Auckland at ANZ Bank New Zealand Ltd., wrote in a client note e-mailed today. “We expect stronger market reaction to U.S. data strength than we do to U.S. data weakness.”
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