Asian stocks advanced, heading for a record 10th weekly advance, and crude oil gained after U.S. jobless claims held at a four-year low and German business confidence exceeded forecasts.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.3 percent as of 9:45 a.m. inTokyo, while Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures gained 0.1 percent. The Australian dollar strengthened 0.1 percent and South Korea’s won rallied against all its major counterparts. The euro reached the strongest level in more than 10 weeks against the dollar and oil rose 0.6 percent to $108.45 a barrel.
Australia’s benchmark interest rate is “about right for the moment” as concerns ease thatEurope’s debt crisis will disrupt global output. Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens said today. U.S. jobless claims were unchanged last week at 351,000, the fewest since March 2008, Labor Department data showed, and the Ifo institute said its German business climate index posted a fourth straight gain, climbing to the highest level since July.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.2 percent and the Nikkei 225 Stock Average was little changed. Inpex Corp., Japan’s biggest energy explorer, gained 4 percent as oil gained.
Gross domestic product in Germany probably grew 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News before the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden releases its figures today. That would be the eighth quarter of expansion and in line with the preliminary estimate on Feb. 15.