Asian stocks were little changed, with the benchmark regional index trading near a six-year high, after data showed the U.S. economy is strengthening and inflation is running below the Federal Reserve’s target. BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) slumped.
QBE Insurance Group Ltd. (QBE) surged 4.3 percent in Sydney as it completed a A$650 million ($604 million) capital raising. Hitachi Metals Ltd. added 3.5 percent in Tokyo after unveiling plans to acquire Waupaca Foundry Inc. BHP, the world’s largest miner, tumbled 4.1 percent in Sydney after announcing a spinoff and refraining from a share buyback expected by some investors.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell less than 0.1 percent to 148.72 as of 9:50 a.m. in Hong Kong. The gauge closed yesterday within 1 percent of a six-year high as concern eased over global political conflicts. American data showed inflation pressures remain limited and housing starts jumped as the Fed watches economic reports to help gauge the timing of interest-rate increases.