Japanese stock futures fell as European leaders struggled to complete a Greek rescue program and U.S. consumer spending stalled, sparking concern global economic growth may slow. Australian shares were little changed.
American depositary receipts of Nissan Motor Co. (7201), which gets about 80 percent of its sales overseas, fell 0.6 percent after the yen strengthened, cutting the earnings outlook for the exporter. Those of Canon Inc. (7751) sank 2.8 percent after the camera maker forecast profit that missed estimates and said its president will step down. BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), Australia’s top oil producer, lost 0.3 percent in Sydney after crude prices declined.
“There’s more uncertainty about the rescue plan for Greece and the debt swap, so investors are wary,” said Fumiyuki Nakanishi, a strategist at Tokyo-based SMBC Friend Securities Co. “The yen continues to strengthen, which is a catalyst for blue- chip shares to get sold.”
Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in March closed at 8,760 in Chicago yesterday, compared with 8,800 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 8,760 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose less than 0.1 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index lost 0.6 percent in Wellington.
16th Euro Summit
Commerce Department figures yesterday showed U.S. consumer spending stalled in December, with purchases little changed after rising 0.1 percent the prior month. The weak end to the quarter makes it more likely private consumption, which accounts for the majority of the U.S. economy, will cool early this year.
At Europe’s 16th summit since Greece’s fiscal emergency triggered a regional crisis, leaders yesterday completed a fiscal-discipline treaty, which speeds sanctions on high-deficit states and requires euro countries to anchor balanced-budget rules in national law. Eight countries outside the euro backed the pact, leaving Britain and the Czech Republic to boycott it.
The yen appreciated to as high as 99.99 against the euro last night in Tokyo, the highest level since Jan. 23. Against the dollar, Japan’s currency strengthened to 76.22 today from 76.67 at the close of stock trading yesterday. It touched 75.35 yen Oct. 31, a post- World War II low.
Crude oil for March delivery slid 0.8 percent to settle at $98.78 a barrel in New York yesterday. The London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six industrial commodities including copper and aluminum lost 0.9 percent, the biggest drop since Jan. 20.
The China-US 55 Index of the most-traded Chinese stocks in the U.S. fell 1.5 percent to 102.61 in New York yesterday, the steepest decrease since Dec. 19.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) gained 7.2 percent this year through yesterday, compared with increases of 4.4 percent by the S&P 500 and 3.3 percent by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 1.3 times book value. That compares with 2.1 times for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index in the U.S. and 1.4 times for the Europe Stoxx 600 Index in Europe.
The Japanese government is scheduled to release a report on industrial production at 8:50 a.m. today in Tokyo. Output may rise 3 percent from a month earlier, according to the median estimate of 30 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.
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