Asian stocks climbed, with the regional index heading for a second weekly gain, after the U.S. equity benchmark gauge rose to a record before a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. Indonesia’s rupiah strengthened and crop futures advanced.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) added 0.3 percent by 12:45 p.m. in Tokyo, set for a 0.5 percent increase this week. Standard & Poor’s 500 futures were little changed after the gauge rose a fourth day in the U.S. The yen traded near its weakest level since April and the rupiah rallied 0.2 percent after a court threw out a challenge to Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo’s presidential-election victory. Wheat, corn and soybeans increased at least 0.4 percent.
Yellen speaks today in Jackson Hole, Wyoming at a Fed symposium also being attended by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda. Investors are looking for clues as to the timing of U.S. interest-rate increases, with data from housing to manufacturing yesterday indicating the U.S. economy is continuing to strengthen. Widodo, known as Jokowi, will become Indonesia’s next president after a court rejected his challenger’s allegations of fraud.