Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Asian stocks rose, paring the biggest weekly drop since May, as the yen halted a five-day advance while speculation grew that the U.K. won’t vote to leave the European Union.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rebounded 0.6 percent to 126.32 as of 9:12 a.m. in Tokyo. The gauge headed for a weekly loss of 3 percent amid concerns over central bank policies and anxiety over the possibility of a “Brexit.” The killing of a U.K. lawmaker Thursday prompted speculation that Britons could be more inclined to vote to stay in the EU in next week’s referendum.

“The dollar-yen market has calmed somewhat,” said Shunichi Otsuka, general manager of research and strategy at Ichiyoshi Securities Co. in Tokyo. “We’ll probably see a rebound from the steep fall yesterday. The fact that U.S. shares have risen is also a tailwind for Japanese equities.”

The Bank of Japan, Bank of England and Swiss National Bank kept interest rates unchanged after the Fed reined in its projection for rate increases this year as policy makers cited worries about the potential damage caused by Brexit as a factor in their decisions.

Both sides of the acrimonious debate over whether the U.K. should quit the European Union suspended campaigning for a second day on Friday after the murder of Labour lawmaker Jo Cox, a strong advocate for voting to stay in next week’s referendum. Cox, 41, was shot dead in the town of Birstall, northern England, in the early afternoon on Thursday.

“Campaigning has been placed on hold and that to an extent steadied the market,” Tony Farnham, a Sydney-based strategist at Patersons Securities Ltd., said by phone. “There’s a significant number of people still undecided and that’s really the swing factor.”

Japan’s Topix index jumped 1.5 percent as the yen weakened in early Friday trading after surging 1.7 percent on Thursday. The gauge slumped 2.8 percent on Thursday as the BOJ opted to keep policy unchanged. The Topix is down 5.3 percent for the week, heading for the worst weekly performance since mid-February.

South Korea’s Kospi index rose 0.6 percent. New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 Index was little changed. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.3 percent. Markets in China and Hong Kong have yet to start trading.

Futures on the FTSE China A50 Index were little changed in their most recent trading, while those for the Hang Seng Index dropped 0.2 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index both slid more than 2 percent to three-week lows on Thursday, as investors fled riskier assets amid growing concern over the outlook for global growth. The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.5 percent.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index advanced 0.1 percent. The U.S. equity benchmark index added 0.3 percent on Thursday, erasing earlier losses of as much as 1 percent and snapping its longest losing streak since February.

West Texas Intermediate crude for July delivery rose 0.2 percent in early Asian trading after slumping 3.8 percent on Thursday. Oil headed for the biggest weekly decline in more than two months as easing global supply disruptions offset the recent price recovery that pushed prices above $50 last week.

--With assistance from Adam Haigh To contact the reporters on this story: Jonathan Burgos in Singapore at jburgos4@bloomberg.net, Hiroyuki Sekine in 東京 at hsekine@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeff Sutherland at jsutherlan13@bloomberg.net, Chan Tien Hin

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