Japanese and Australian stock futures rose as China’s Premier Wen Jiabao and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke reassured investors that central banks will move to boost growth in the world’s two largest economies.
Toll Holdings Ltd. (TOL) may be active as Australia’s largest trucking company reported full-year profit that missed analyst estimates. Shares of China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (600028) may be active in Hong Kong after Asia’s biggest refiner, also known as Sinopec, posted its lowest half-yearly profit since 2008.
Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring next month closed at 9,115 in Chicago on Aug. 24, up from 9,110 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 9,120 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.6 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.2 percent in Wellington. Investors are awaiting comments from Bernanke as U.S. policymakers meet on Aug. 30 for an annual summit in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
“Clearly the chances of further quantitative easing are higher than they were six months ago,” said George Boubouras, Melbourne-based head of investment strategy at UBS AG’s Australian wealth management unit. “The market is looking to Bernanke’s speech at Jackson Hole for additional guidance on policy.” The Swiss bank has about $1.5 trillion in assets under management.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) climbed 10 percent from a June low through Aug. 24 on bets monetary authorities in the U.S., Europe and China will take action to boost slowing economic growth. Stocks on the index were valued at 12.6 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.7 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 11.6 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Premier Wen urged extra measures to support Chinese exports and help meet economic targets as evidence mounts that the nation’s slowdown is deepening.
“The third quarter is a crucial period for realizing full- year targets on export growth,” Wen said during an inspection tour of Guangdong, the nation’s biggest exporting province, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on Aug. 25. “Facing the current difficulties, China should substantially improve the environment for companies’ operation and improve companies’ confidence.”
Bernanke, speaking in a letter dated Aug. 22 to California Republican Darrell Issa, repeated the statement from the Federal Open Market Committee’s Aug. 1 meeting that the Fed will provide “additional accommodation as needed.”
Futures on the S&P 500 advanced 0.2 percent today. The gauge last week snapped a six-week gain amid concern European leaders may fail to tame the region’s debt crisis. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined for the first week in four.
The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index (CH55BN) of the most-traded Chinese companies in the U.S. slid 1.6 percent last week to 89.73, the biggest drop since the week ended July 20.
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