Australian Stock Futures Increase on Europe Optimism: Japan Little Changed

Australian stock futures rose and Japan’s were little changed as European stocks advanced amid speculation the region’s debt crisis is easing, boosting the outlook for Asian exporters.

Canon Inc., a camera maker that gets 80 percent of its sales overseas, and Sony Corp., an electronics maker, which gets about a half of its sales in the U.S. and Europe, may advance in Tokyo. BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, may also rise in Sydney after metal prices gained.

With Europe, “people maybe had the worst-case scenario factored in, but we didn’t quite get that,” said Stephen Halmarick, Sydney-based head of investment markets research at Colonial First State Global Asset Management, which oversees about $150 billion. “It’s still not exactly all over and rosy. There’s still a long, long way to go.”

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 (NKY) Stock Average expiring in September closed at 9,960 in Osaka, Japan, yesterday and were bid at 9,980 as of 8:05 a.m. today. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.4 percent today after the London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six metals including copper and aluminum advanced 0.3 percent yesterday. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index fell 0.1 percent.

Exchanges in the U.S. were closed for the Independence Day holiday yesterday. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.2 percent to 275.54 in London yesterday as finance ministers approved an aid payment to Greece.

Earthquake Recovery

The Nikkei 225 gained for a fifth day yesterday, rising 4 percent in that period, as Greece cleared hurdles for getting more bailout money from the European Union and Japanese companies said they were recovering faster than anticipated from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 0.4 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a gain of 6.5 percent by the Standard & Poor’s 500 and a drop of 0.1 percent by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 13.7 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.5 times for the S&P 500 and 11.2 times for the Stoxx 600.

In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed for a sixth day. Strategists at Nomura Holdings Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG turned bullish on European stocks, saying it’s time to buy the region’s shares as risks to global economic growth wane. Deutsche Bank upgraded its “tactical view” on equities and Nomura increased its recommendation to “overweight” from “neutral,” according to reports dated July 3 and July 1.

The yen depreciated to as low as 117.48 against the euro today in Tokyo, compared with 117.28 at the close of stock trading yesterday, boosting overseas income at Japanese companies when converted into their home currency.

To contact the reporters on this story: Norie Kuboyama in Tokyo at nkuboyama@bloomberg.net; Toshiro Hasegawa in Tokyo at thasegawa6@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Gentle at ngentle2@bloomberg.net.

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