Japan, Australia Stock Futures Rise on U.S. Manufacturing

Bloomberg's Zeb Eckert previews Japan and Australia's stock futures.

Japanese and Australian stock futures rose after a gauge of U.S. manufacturing beat estimates and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke renewed a pledge to sustain record stimulus, brightening the earnings outlook for Asian exporters.

American depositary receipts of carmaker Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), which gets a quarter of its sales in North America, gained 0.6 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo. Those of Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ), Australia’s third-largest lender, advanced 0.5 percent before the nation’s central bank meets today. Shares of Softbank Corp. (9984) may be active after Japan’s third-biggest mobile phone company said it will buy rival eAccess Ltd.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) expiring in December closed at 8,810 in Chicago yesterday, up from 8,780 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 8,810 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.4 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index added 0.6 percent in Wellington. Markets in China and Hong Kong are closed for a public holiday today.

“Considering that manufacturing has been the one bright spot in the U.S. since the recovery began, it’s a bit of a relief,” said Prasad Patkar, portfolio manager who helps manage about $1 billion at Platypus Asset Management Ltd. in Sydney. “Asian markets will be thin and will take their lead from the U.S. more than they typically do.”

U.S. Futures

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPXL1) were little changed today. The index climbed 0.3 percent in New York yesterday as the Institute for Supply Management’s factory index increased to 51.5 last month from 49.6 in August. Bernanke yesterday defended the Fed’s unprecedented bond buying, saying it will spur growth, cut unemployment, help savers and support the dollar.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) gained 7.1 percent this year through yesterday as policy makers boosted stimulus measures to counter a global economic slowdown and quell Europe’s debt crisis. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 12.8 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 14 times for the S&P 500 and 12 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

Traders are pricing in an 82 percent chance the Reserve Bank of Australian will cut its overnight cash-rate target by a quarter percentage point to 3.25 percent today, swaps data compiled by Bloomberg show. That conflicts with 19 of 28 economists who say central bank Governor Glenn Stevens will leave borrowing costs unchanged.

The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese stocks in the U.S. gained 0.1 percent in New York yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Yoshiaki Nohara in Tokyo at ynohara1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Gentle at ngentle2@bloomberg.net.

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