Asian Equities Higher Again

Asian stocks rose for a fifth day as material and health-care companies advanced and investors await a Bank of Japan policy decision and the release of Federal Reserve meeting minutes.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.1 percent to 149.21 as of 9:03 a.m. in Tokyo. The BOJ ends a two-day meeting today, with all 34 economists surveyed by Bloomberg predicting the Japanese central bank will maintain record stimulus. Investors are waiting for Fed minutes for clues on when policy makers will increase U.S. interest rates after payrolls data added to signs of a weak first-quarter growth in the world’s biggest economy.

“The BOJ is nowhere near its inflation target, so there’s probably room for further easing,” Nader Naeimi, who helps manage about $118 billion as Sydney-based head of dynamic asset allocation at AMP Capital Investors Ltd. “That will be a good surprise for the market. The Fed’s policy is data dependent and that’s going to cause more volatility going forward.”