Australian equities and Japanese stock futures advanced as an increase in German business confidence and a jump in U.S. consumer spending during the Thanksgiving weekend spurred optimism in the global recovery.
BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), the world’s largest mining company, gained 0.3 percent, leading gains among companies with earnings that are closely tied to economic growth. American Depositary Receipts of Canon Inc. (7751), the Japanese camera maker that gets 80 percent of sales abroad, gained 1 percent. ADRs of Toyota Motor Corp. advanced 0.3 percent as BNP Paribas SA advised buying shares of Asia’s largest carmaker.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.2 percent as of 10:11 a.m. in Sydney. Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average were bid in the pre-market at 9,420 at 8:05 a.m. in Osaka, compared with a closing level of 9,360 for the contracts on Nov. 22. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.2 percent in Wellington.
“Conditions have improved,” said George Boubouras, Melbourne-based head of investment strategy at UBS AG’s Australian wealth management unit. The Swiss bank has about $1.5 trillion under management. “The U.S. consumer is in better shape. Equity valuations remain compelling on so many different measures.”
The MSCI Asia Pacific (MXAP) Index gained 13 percent from this year’s low on June 4 through Nov. 23 as central banks added stimulus to spur economic growth and data showed a slowdown in China may be ending. The gauge traded at 13.8 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.6 for the S&P 500 and 12.4 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.2 percent today. The S&P 500 advanced 3.6 percent last week, extending its 2012 gain to 12 percent, after President Barack Obama expressed confidence on a budget agreement with Congress and data from China to Germany bolstered optimism about global growth.
American shoppers spent 13 percent more during the four-day Thanksgiving weekend. Spending rose to $59.1 billion from Nov. 22 through Nov. 25 from $52.4 billion last year, the National Retail Federation said in a statement. The jump occurred even as Chicago-based researcher ShopperTrak observed a 1.8 percent decline in sales on Black Friday, the traditional start to the shopping season.
The Munich-based Ifo institute said its business climate index for Germany, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, climbed to 101.4 in November from 100 in October. Economists in a Bloomberg survey predicted a drop to 99.5. French business confidence increased from the lowest in more than three years this month, a separate report showed.
Euro-area finance ministers return to Brussels today to try for the third time this month to clear an aid payment to Greece and forge a blueprint for keeping the country a solvent member of the 17-member single currency bloc. At stake is the continuation of a three-year mission to return Greece to financial health.
In South Korea, consumer confidence rebounded from a nine- month low this month as the economy began to show signs of improvement. The sentiment index was at 99 from 98 in October, the Bank of Korea said in an e-mailed statement today. A reading below 100 indicates pessimists outnumber optimists.
The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index (CH55BN) of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. gained 2.3 percent Nov. 23 in New York.
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