Japanese and Australian stock futures fell as Spain’s credit rating was cut and economic reports in the U.S and Europe added to concern the global economy is slowing.
American Depositary Receipts of Sony Corp. (6758), a Japanese consumer electronics exporter that gets a fifth of its sales in Europe, slid 0.7 percent. Those of BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), the world’s No. 1 mining company, lost 0.5 percent as metals prices fell. Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co. (8750), Japan’s second-largest life insurer, may climb after Barclays Plc advised buying the shares.
Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in September closed at 8,530 in Chicago yesterday, down from 8,590 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 8,530 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 0.4 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.3 percent after the central bank left interest rates at a record low and signaled no change until mid-2013.
“Everyone knows the risks associated with the economies in Europe,” said Cameron Peacock, a Melbourne-based analyst at IG Markets Ltd., a provider of trading services for stocks, bonds and currencies. “Ahead of the weekend’s election in Greece, no one wants to be on the wrong side of the bet and take on risk.”
Greeks will go to the polls June 17. Alexis Tsipras, whose Syriza party is vying for first place in pre-election polls, said he expects the European Union will do all it can to keep the nation in the euro even if he wins election and carries out his promise to repeal austerity measures required to receive emergency loans.
Spain’s credit rating was downgraded three steps to Baa3 from A3 by Moody’s Investors Service, citing the nation’s increased debt burden, weakening economy and limited access to capital markets.
Retail sales in the U.S. fell in May for a second month, Commerce Department figures showed yesterday. Euro-area industrial production declined for a second month in April, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said yesterday. The Group of 20 nations meeting in Mexico next week probably won’t announce significant progress on Europe’s debt crisis, a U.S. official said.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed today. The gauge fell 0.7 percent yesterday in New York.
The MSCI Asia-Pacific (MXAP) dropped 12 percent from this year’s peak on Feb. 29 through yesterday amid concern growth in the U.S. and China is slowing and as Europe’s debt crisis intensified.
The Asian benchmark dropped 0.4 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 4.6 percent advance by the S&P 500 and a 0.8 percent drop on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Shares on the Asian benchmark are valued at 1.2 times book value, compared with 2.1 times for the S&P 500 and 1.3 times for the Stoxx 600, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. A number below one means companies can be bought for less than value of their assets.
The Thomson Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of raw materials retreated 0.6 percent yesterday. The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index (CH55BN) of the most-traded Chinese companies in the U.S. dropped 0.9 percent to 90.50.
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