Japan, Australia Stock Futures Fall Amid Growth Slowdown Concern

Japanese and Australian stock futures fell as the yen maintained gains amid concern the pace of economic growth in China is slowing and as bomb blasts in Boston spurred appetite for haven assets.

American Depositary Receipts of Komatsu Ltd. (6301), the world’s second-biggest construction equipment maker, lost 3.2 percent. ADRs of Canon Inc. (7751), a camera maker that gets 80 percent of sales outside Japan, declined 2.4 percent as the yen strengthened from the close of Japan’s equity markets yesterday. ADRs of BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), the world’s largest mining company, slid 3 percent.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) expiring in June traded at 13,045 in Chicago yesterday, down from 13,200 at the close in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 13,080 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index retreated 1.3 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index fell 1.1 percent.

“Brace yourselves today,” said Evan Lucas, a market strategist at IG Markets Ltd., a provider of trading services in Melbourne. “The sell-off will be sharp and indiscriminate, loss will be across the board, not even the defensives will escape the flight to safety today.”

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index, the benchmark regional equities gauge, yesterday traded at 13.9 times average estimated earnings compared with 14 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) and 12.5 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Chinese GDP

The Asian gauge retreated yesterday from the highest level in 20 months after reports showed Chinese economic growth and industrial production expanded less than economists’ estimated.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.2 percent. The gauge dropped 2.3 percent yesterday, the biggest decline since November, after the China gross domestic product report. U.S. stocks extended losses as explosions rocked the finish line area of the Boston Marathon. Almost all of the drop came before the incident. Explosions killed two people and injured 23 near the finish of the Boston Marathon, police said.

Market declines “were compounded further by the dreadful events in Boston,” said IG’s Evans.

The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index (CH55BN) of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. dropped 3.3 percent in New York yesterday.

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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