Asian stocks pared losses as oil explorers advanced, while airlines retreated as oil surged amid escalating violence in Iraq.
Inpex Corp., Japan’s biggest energy explorer, jumped 4.6 percent. Advantest Corp. climbed 4 percent in Tokyo after the Nikkei newspaper reported that the maker of chip-testing equipment raised its target for operating margins on rising orders. Qantas Airways Ltd. dropped 1.9 percent in Sydney, pacing losses among airlines.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) lost less than 0.1 percent to 144.27 as of 1:43 p.m. in Hong Kong, after falling 0.7 percent earlier. The gauge is set to gain for a fifth straight week amid signs China’s economy is stabilizing and the U.S. recovery is intact. A surge in violence across Iraq, three years after U.S. troops withdrew from the country, raised the prospect of a return to sectarian civil war in OPEC’s second-biggest oil producer.