Japanese stock futures rose as the yen fell to the weakest level in eight months versus the dollar, boosting the outlook for the nation’s exporters.
American Depositary Receipts of auto exporters Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) and Honda Motor Co. rose more than 1.2 percent. ADRs of Panasonic Corp. gained 1.2 percent as Barclays Plc advised buying shares of the Japanese electronics maker that’s facing a second straight annual loss. Iluka Resources Ltd. (ILU) dropped 4.3 percent in Sydney as the world’s biggest zircon producer said the declining price trend for the material is continuing.
Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average closed at 9,670 in Chicago yesterday, up from 9,570 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 9,670 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was little changed and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index fell 0.3 percent in Wellington.
“There’s been a big move in the currency,” said Stan Shamu, Melbourne-based market strategist at IG Markets Ltd., a provider of equities, currencies and commodities trading services. “That’s the big positive for the Nikkei today and the exporters will be the ones that benefit.”
The yen fell to the weakest level in eight months versus the dollar as Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party, which has pledged fiscal stimulus to stoke economic growth, leads in polls before Dec. 16 elections. The Japanese currency lost 0.9 percent to 83.26 per dollar yesterday, reaching the lowest level since April 2.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed today. The S&P 500 gained less than 0.1 percent yesterday as optimism about Federal Reserve plans to buy more bonds faded, with investor focus returning to the budget deadlock in Washington.
The Fed for the first time linked the outlook for its main interest rate to unemployment and inflation and said it will expand its asset purchase program by buying $45 billion a month of Treasury securities starting in January to spur the economy.
“It wasn’t too surprising,” said IG’s Shamu. “They will now be keeping an eye on unemployment and inflation as thresholds of when to make a change in policy settings.”
The MSCI Asia Pacific (MXAP) Index advanced 11 percent this year through yesterday as central banks took steps to support economic growth. The gauge traded at 14.3 times estimated earnings, compared with 13.8 times for the S&P 500 Index and 12.7 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.
The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index (CH55BN) of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. gained 0.4 percent yesterday in New York.
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