Japanese, U.S. Stock Futures Little Changed as Yen Strengthens

Japanese stock futures were little changed as the yen strengthened against the dollar, weakening the earnings outlook for exporters.

American Depositary Receipts of Canon Inc. (7751), the world’s largest camera maker, advanced 1.6 percent as Jefferies Group Inc. advised buying the shares. Shares of Aozora Bank Ltd. may move after Cerberus Capital Management LP confirmed it is set to offload its holding after the Japanese lender’s stock tripled over four years.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in March closed at 10,620 in Chicago yesterday, at the same level as they were at the close in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 10,610 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.4 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index was little changed. The yen strengthened 0.3 percent to 87.54 per dollar from yesterday.

“We don’t expect a no-brainer one-way climb for stocks,” said Michael Kurtz, chief global equity strategist at Nomura Holdings Inc. in Hong Kong. “Japan for its part has delivered a key step toward expectations of a major pro-reflation policy shift.”

The Nikkei 225 Stock Average climbed 22 percent since Nov. 14 when elections were announced, driving the gauge into a bull market on expectations a new government would call for more stimulus and a weakening currency boosted the earnings outlook for exporters. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a proponent for more monetary policy easing, will have a chance to reshape the Bank of Japan early this year, when the terms of Governor Masaaki Shirakawa and his two deputies expire.

Winning Streak

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) posted its seventh weekly advance last week, the longest winning streak since March last year, after U.S. Congress approved a budget deal and manufacturing reports from China and the U.S. added to signs of a global recovery. The measure traded at 14.2 times average estimated earnings, compared with about 13.2 times for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and about 11.9 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index were little changed today. The benchmark U.S. equities gauge fell 0.3 percent yesterday as investors awaited the start of the corporate earnings season tomorrow.

The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index (CH55BN) of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. dropped 0.9 percent to 100.77 yesterday in New York.

To contact the reporter on this story: Adam Haigh in Sydney at ahaigh1@bloomberg.net

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

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