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Asian Stocks Advance With Rupiah; Corn at Four-Year Low

The MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index advanced 0.3 percent as of 11:44 a.m. in Hong Kong, with three stocks rising for every two that fell. Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX)were little changed after the U.S. gauge climbed from its biggest loss in three months. Indonesia’s currency added 0.4 percent versus the dollar before the result of presidential elections is announced. Corn slumped 1.3 percent on U.S. production. Natural gas slid 1.9 percent.

Asian equities are following a July 18 jump in the U.S., where better earnings from Google Inc., the world’s third-largest company, refocused investors on economic growth amid crises in the Middle East and Ukraine. Halliburton Co. is among companies reporting today, while Internet bellwethers Facebook Inc. and Netflix Inc. release earnings later in the week. European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels tomorrow will consider tougher sanctions on Russian individuals and companies.

“Datawise it’s a very, very quiet week, so all leads will probably come from the U.S.,” said Evan Lucas, markets strategist at IG Ltd. in Melbourne. “More and more pressure on Russia is likely to see higher volatility in European trading. Earnings from Facebook and Netflix, while not huge movers in terms of the overall market, will be a good way of seeing how investors still view risk.”

U.S. Earnings

The S&P 500 rose 1 percent on July 18 in New York, the most since April 16. Google jumped 3.7 percent to lead technology shares higher after selling more advertising alongside Web-search results. Euro Stoxx 50 futures contracts added 0.6 percent, advancing after the Stoxx Europe 600 Index nearly erased a drop of 0.8 percent to close little changed.

About 77 percent of the 82 companies in the S&P 500 that have posted results this earnings season beat analysts’ profit projections, and 70 percent exceeded sales estimates, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Some 140 companies in the S&P 500 are scheduled to report earnings this week, including, McDonald’s Corp., Boeing Co., Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 0.2 percent, while New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index increased 0.3 percent. The Hang Seng Index swung between gains and losses while a gauge of Chinese companies in the city retreated 0.2 percent. Mainland Chinese indexes fluctuated as upcoming initial public offerings tied up funds. Japanese markets are closed for a holiday today.

Rupiah Rally

The rupiah climbed for a fourth day, trading at 11,572 to the dollar, while the Jakarta Composite Index of stocks gained 0.5 percent. Outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono warned the political situation could “boil” should the losing candidate refuse to accept defeat, while police are on alert with official results expected tomorrow.

Malaysia’s ringgit climbed to 3.1755 per greenback, while Taiwan’s dollar strengthened 0.2 percent to 29.978. China’s yuan was little changed. The euro advanced 0.1 percent to $1.3533 and New Zealand’s dollar bought 87.06 U.S. cents.

Thailand’s baht rose as much as 0.4 percent to a seven-month high of 32.026 per dollar after junta leader Prayuth Chan-Ocha said late on July 18 that exports increased 7.2 percent from a year earlier in June. That would be the first gain in four months and exceeds the median estimate of a 3.1 percent gain in a Bloomberg survey before official data is released in the coming week.

Ruble, Micex

One-month non-deliverable forwards on Russia’s ruble were little changed after the currency weakened 2.7 percent last week, the most since January. The Micex Index of Moscow stocks plunged 5.2 percent last week, the most since the period ended April 25.

EU ministers will consider blacklisting more associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin and, for the first time, Russian companies accused of profiting from Ukraine’s woes. Putin said Russia will do all it can to end Ukraine fighting and said investigators must be assured of safety, according to comments posted to the Kremlin website.

Corn futures in Chicago fell as much as 1.3 percent to $3.735 a bushel, the lowest level since July 2010, amid signs of ample supplies as farmers in the U.S., the world’s largest producer, prepare to harvest the second-biggest crop ever, according to the U.S. government. Wheat and soybeans also declined at least 0.5 percent.

Natural gas futures retreated to $3.876 per million British thermal units in early trading. West Texas Intermediate crude oil slipped 0.1 percent to $103.05 a barrel and Brent crude was little changed at $107.28.

Aussie Bonds

The yield on Australian government 10-year notes climbed three basis points, or 0.03 percentage point, to 3.40 today, pacing moves in the U.S. on July 18.

Treasuries pared their second-straight week of gains on July 18. The 10-year yield dropped four basis points in the week, to 2.48 percent in New York, according to Bloomberg Bond Trader prices.

U.S. 30-year yields dropped five basis points on the week to 3.29 percent. It touched 3.26 percent on July 17, the least since June 2013. The Bloomberg U.S. Treasury Bond Index has gained 3.6 percent this year, after dropping 3.4 percent in 2013.

In Dubai, the DFM General Index sank 6 percent on July 20, the biggest decline since June 24, to close 4,609.67 and bringing the longest rising streak since April to an end. Arabtec tumbled the maximum allowed in a day after it resumed trading following its suspension July 17. Aabar Investments PJSC’s talks on its stake in the builder are “strictly confidential,” it said in a statement to the Dubai bourse.

Israel’s TA-25 Index dropped the most in a month yesterday as the ground offensive in Gaza entered its bloodiest phase yet, with militants killing 13 soldiers and fighting in one neighborhood claiming the lives of at least 60 Palestinians.

(Source: Bloomberg)