Asian stocks climbed, with Japan’s Topix index heading for its biggest gain in seven weeks, after U.S. equities rallied on earnings. The currencies of Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia weakened before economic-growth data from China, the countries’ biggest trading partner.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.4 percent as of 9:56 a.m. Tokyo time, led by a 1.6 percent gain in the Topix. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures slipped 0.1 percent after the benchmark gauge rose 0.7 percent yesterday. New Zealand’s dollar, the best-performing major currency versus the greenback in the first quarter, weakened 0.6 percent while the ringgit slipped 0.3 percent and the Aussie fell 0.3 percent. Australian bonds followed U.S. Treasuries higher amid violence in Ukraine.
China’s loss of economic momentum in the first quarter was deeper than the most widely cited data will show, according to analyst forecasts before data on growth and industrial production released today. Ukraine retook an airfield and some government buildings from pro-Russian separatists yesterday as escalating violence threatens to force NATO to do more to deter Russian moves into the region. U.S. technology shares rallied before Intel Corp. (INTC) beat earnings estimates and forecast better-than-projected second-quarter sales.