Japanese stock futures rose as optimism Greece will commit to austerity measures and the yen’s drop to a three-month low against the dollar boosted the earnings outlook for the nation’s exporters. Australian equities gained.
American depositary receipts of Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), Asia’s biggest carmaker, rose 0.6 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo after the Bank of Japan boosted its asset purchase program yesterday, pushing down the yen. Those of Advantest Corp. (6857), a maker of memory-chip testers, added 1.4 percent after the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index, which tracks the performance of 30 industry stocks, gained. Santos Ltd., Australia’s third-largest oil and gas producer, slid 0.6 percent after crude prices fell.
Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in March closed at 9,100 in Chicago yesterday, up from 9,060 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 9,100 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.1 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index dropped 0.6 percent in Wellington.
“Expectations are mounting that another bailout for Greece will be executed soon,” said Hiroichi Nishi, an equities manager in Tokyo at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. “The yen is retreating and the world is moving toward more monetary easing as shown by the BOJ, supporting equities.”
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed today. The index lost 0.1 percent in New York yesterday, paring an earlier decline of as much as 0.8 percent, after Reuters reported that Greece’s conservative party leader will deliver a commitment to lenders today, citing a government source.
Equities fell earlier as U.S. retail sales missed estimates and European finance ministers canceled a meeting scheduled for today. Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said he has yet to receive political assurances from Greek lawmakers about austerity measures required for a 130 billion euros ($171 billion) bailout.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) gained 9.8 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 7.4 percent advance by the S&P 500 and a 7.4 percent increase by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 14.1 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 12.9 times for the S&P 500 and 10.9 times for the Stoxx 600.
AsiaInfo-Linkage Inc. dropped the most in two months in New York on concern quickening inflation will continue to erode the telecommunications software provider’s profitability. The Bloomberg China-US 55 Index of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. slid 0.2 percent to 106.54.
The yen touched 78.54 per dollar yesterday, the lowest since Nov. 1. Oil for March delivery dropped 17 cents to settle at $100.74 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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