Asian stocks rose, reversing earlier losses, as economic reports from China, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand fueled speculation that central banks will boost stimulus measures.
James Hardie Industries SE (JHX), a building-materials supplier that gets 67 percent of sales from the U.S., rose 0.7 percent in Sydney. Shimao Property Holdings Ltd. paced gains among Chinese developers on a report the nation should do more to help economic growth. Samsung Card Co. soared 13 percent in Seoul after the credit-card issuer said it will buy back shares.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.5 percent to 118.32 as of 1:44 p.m. in Tokyo after earlier falling as much as 0.5 percent. U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said on Aug. 31 that further monetary easing is an option.
Bernanke â€œis defending the case that quantitative easing and unconventional policy have been effective, and that could be a controversial statement,â€ said Tim Leung, a portfolio manager who helps manage about $1.5 billion at IG Investment Ltd. in Hong Kong, referring to the Fedâ€™s large-scale asset purchases. â€œIf in the future the economy is not performing as good as they expect, they still have roomâ€ for more stimulus.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 0.8 percent in August, the first monthly drop since May, on concern policy makers wonâ€™t introduce enough stimulus measures to revive the global economy. Stocks in the Asian benchmark were valued at 12.3 times estimated earnings on average as of last week, compared with 13.6 times for the Standard & Poorâ€™s 500 Index and 11.6 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.