Japanese stock index futures and Australian shares rose after better-than-estimated U.S. housing and consumer confidence data reassured investors that a recovery in the world’s largest economy is intact.
American Depositary Receipts of Mitsubishi Estate Co. (8802), Japan’s biggest developer by market value, gained 5.2 percent after a report showed land values posted the biggest quarterly increase since 2008. ADRs of Mizuho Financial Group Inc. (8411) climbed 3 percent after it announced more job cuts. Westfield Group (WDC) rose 0.8 percent in Sydney as the world’s biggest shopping-mall operator by assets reported 2012 profit jumped 18 percent.
Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) expiring next month closed at 11,375 in Chicago yesterday, up from 11,330 from the close in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 11,380 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index (AS51) advanced 0.5 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.9 percent.
“Once again a leading indicator shows people are more optimistic than the official retrospective figures illustrate,” said Evan Lucas, Melbourne-based market strategist at IG Markets Ltd., a provider of trading services. “German, Australian and U.S. numbers have all confirmed this over the last two weeks.”
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) rose less than 0.1 percent. The S&P 500 advanced 0.6 percent yesterday as data showed purchases of new homes in the U.S. jumped in January to the highest level since July 2008, indicating the industry will keep adding to growth in the economy. Home prices in 20 U.S. cities increased in the 12 months to December by the most in more than six years. Confidence among U.S. consumers jumped more than forecast in February.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke defended the central bank’s unprecedented asset purchases, saying they are supporting the expansion with little risk of inflation or asset- price bubbles. He spoke yesterday in prepared testimony to the Senate Banking Committee in Washington.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index, the benchmark regional equities gauge, traded yesterday at 14.7 times average estimated earnings compared with 13.5 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12.2 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index (CH55BN) of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. climbed 0.3 percent to 93.10 in New York yesterday.
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