The Star Late Edition



Stocks gained yesterday, with the MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan index heading for a three-week high, as manufactur­ing growth from Australia, China and India added to optimism that the region’s economies will withstand Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis.

The regional gauge gained 2 percent to 400.33 points as of 6.59pm in Hong Kong.

BHP Billiton rose 1.1 percent in Sydney. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China advanced 3 percent as trading in Hong Kong resumed. Toys and clothing manufactur­er Li & Fung climbed 6 percent on speculatio­n consumer spending in the US will increase after payrolls climbed for a second month.

“Positive economic data provide a catalyst for a small new year rally,” said Pauline Dan at Samsung Asset Management in Hong Kong. “We’ll probably see more headwinds from Europe.”

Australia’s benchmark index rose 1.1 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index lifted 2.4 percent. – Bloomberg

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