Asia Stocks Rise on Commodities as Korea, Europe Concerns Abate

Asian stocks rose by the most in two weeks as commodity prices climbed amid easing tensions on the Korean peninsula even after a military drill by the South yesterday, and as China reported “concrete action” to help stabilize Europe’s economy.

Sony Corp., the Japanese electronics maker that gets about 22 percent of sales from the U.S., rose 2.6 percent after a Federal Reserve official said U.S. economic growth next year may be stronger than some economists forecast. BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s No. 1 mining company and Australia’s top oil producer, climbed 1.5 percent in Sydney. Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co. advanced 3.4 percent in Seoul after parent Hyundai Group’s bid to buy South Korea’s largest builder collapsed.

“All in all, stability — both economic and political — will always be well received by investors,” said Prasad Patkar, who helps manage about $1.8 billion at Platypus Asset Management Ltd. in Sydney. “Markets are in a seasonally strong period but volumes are thin, which is also typical for this time of the year.”

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 1 percent, the biggest increase since Dec. 3, to 134.73 as of 2:04 p.m. in Tokyo, with almost four stocks increasing for each that fell. The gauge climbed to a 2 1/2-year intraday high on Dec. 14 as U.S. economic reports boosted confidence in a global recovery, easing concerns that Europe’s debt crisis and China’s measures to slow inflation will hurt growth.

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