Japanese and Australian stock futures rose after the U.S. benchmark equity gauge extended a record high and as the yen dropped to a 4 1/2-year low against the dollar. Shares of Sony Corp. (6758) may be active as billionaire Daniel Loeb pushes for a breakup of the Japanese company.
American Depositary Receipts of Sony jumped 13 percent as Loeb’s Third Point hedge fund urged the company to sell part of the entertainment business in order to focus on its struggling electronics business. ADRs of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. (8306) advanced 2.5 percent as the Nikkei newspaper reported Japan’s biggest lender will increase its dividend before the bank reports results today. Those of BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), Australia’s biggest oil producer, slipped 0.5 percent after crude fell.
Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) expiring in June closed at 15,065 in Chicago yesterday, compared with 14,800 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 15,050 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.6 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index was little changed.
“Downward pressure on the yen against the dollar is strengthening, boosting earnings outlooks, especially for exporters,” said Hiroichi Nishi, an equities manager in Tokyo at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc., a unit of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., Japan’s second-biggest lender. “Momentum is building for a global stock rally.”
The yen touched 102.43 per dollar, the lowest since October 2008, before trading at 102.27 at 7:59 a.m. in Tokyo. The yen has weakened as the Bank of Japan introduced unprecedented monetary easing and U.S. economy has shown recovery signs. A weaker yen enhances overseas earnings at Japanese exporters.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slid 0.1 percent today. The index rose 1 percent yesterday in New York to its eighth record high in the past nine sessions. Germany’s DAX Index advanced 0.7 percent to 8,339.11, a record high.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 9.8 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 16 percent rally by the S&P 500 and a 9.3 percent advance by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.
Futures on Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index advanced 0.6 percent and contracts on the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland companies trading in Hong Kong climbed 0.9 percent. The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese stocks in the U.S. rose 0.5 percent yesterday in New York, rebounding from the lowest level in a week.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil for June delivery decreased 96 cents to $94.21 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since May 2.
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