Japanese stock futures and Australian equities fell after orders placed with U.S. factories for durable goods rose less than economists estimated and oil prices dropped, damping demand for riskier assets.
American depositary receipts of Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), Asia’s biggest carmaker by market value that gets 28 percent of its revenue in North America, fell 1.1 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo. ADRs of Sharp Corp. (6753), a Japanese electronics maker, surged 14 percent after the shares rose by their daily limit yesterday on an investment plan by Foxconn Technology Group. BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), Australia’s biggest oil producer, slid 1.3 percent.
Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) expiring in June closed at 10,130 in Chicago yesterday, down from 10,180 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 10,120 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.3 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index added 0.1 percent in Wellington.
“With all the good news being factored in, we are coming to a tougher period and markets are vulnerable to any bad news,” said Shane Oliver, Sydney-based head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors Ltd., which has almost $100 billion under management. “We are starting to see data come out on the softer side of what’s expected. On its own, the durable goods data is still consistent with the economic growth in the U.S.”
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPXL1) were little changed today. The index lost 0.5 percent in New York yesterday after a report showed that factory bookings for goods meant to last at least three years advanced 2.2 percent in February, less than projected after a revised 3.6 percent decline in January. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said unemployment remains too high, the economic recovery isn’t guaranteed and policy makers don’t rule out any further options to spur growth.
Stocks also fell after crude oil for May delivery slumped 1.8 percent to $105.41 yesterday in New York, the lowest close since March 22.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) gained 11.8 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 11.8 percent increase by the S&P 500 and an 8 percent advance by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 15 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.5 times for the S&P 500 and 11.1 times for the Stoxx 600.
Chinese equities traded in the U.S. sank to the lowest level in three weeks on concern a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy is eroding profits. The Bloomberg China- US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. slid 2 percent to 103.34 yesterday in New York, the weakest close since March 7.
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