Japanese, Australian Stock Futures Rise on Fed’s Rate Pledge

Japanese stock futures rose after the U.S. Federal Reserve renewed its pledge to stimulate growth in the world’s biggest economy with low interest rates. Australian stocks futures gained.

American depositary receipts of Canon Inc. (7751), the world’s biggest manufacturer of cameras, climbed 0.5 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo. Those of Kyocera Corp. (6971), a Japanese electronics maker that derives more than half of its sales abroad, increased 1.7 percent. ADRs of Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL), Australia’s second-biggest oil and gas producer, gained 0.3 percent after crude prices increased.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 (NKY) Stock Average expiring in June closed at 9,730 in Chicago yesterday, compared with 9,710 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 9,740 in Osaka, at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.8 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index gained 0.4 percent in Wellington.

“The U.S. will continue its easing monetary policy as was expected,” said Toshio Sumitani, a strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Center. “Stocks in the U.S. are rising with support from the easing policy, as they are cheap. Gains in U.S. stocks are positive for other stock markets.”

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed today. In New York yesterday, the index rose 0.6 percent to 1,355.66. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke signaled the Fed will maintain its record monetary stimulus after ending large-scale bond purchases in June, while the need to contain inflation means further easing is unlikely.

Rate Unchanged

The Fed left its benchmark interest rate in a range of zero to 0.25 percent, where it’s been since December 2008.

Bernanke reinforced the view of the Federal Open Market Committee, which released its policy statement yesterday, that borrowing costs are likely to stay low for “an extended period.” The panel agreed to finish $600 billion of Treasury purchases in June and said surging commodity prices will probably have a transitory effect on inflation.

A report from the Commerce Department said that orders for U.S. durable goods rose in March for a third consecutive month, showing businesses intend to keep spending to update equipment.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index increased just 0.1 percent this year through yesterday, compared with gains of 7.8 percent by the S&P 500 and 2.3 percent by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 13.2 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.8 times for the S&P 500 and 11.4 times for the Stoxx 600.

Crude Oil

Crude oil for June delivery increased 0.5 percent to $112.76 a barrel in New York yesterday, the highest settlement since April 8.

The yen depreciated to 82.79 against the dollar, compared with 81.68 at the close of stock trading in Tokyo yesterday. Against the euro, Japan’s currency weakened to 121.55 from 119.93. A weaker yen boosts the value of overseas income at Japanese companies when converted into their home currency.

In Japan, economic data including the unemployment rate and consumer prices will be announced at 8:30 a.m. and industrial production at 8:50 a.m. in Tokyo.

To contact the reporters on this story: Akiko Ikeda in Tokyo at iakiko@bloomberg.net; Toshiro Hasegawa in Tokyo at thasegawa6@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John McCluskey at j.mccluskey@bloomberg.net.

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