Japanese Stock Futures, Australian Shares Rise on U.S. Housing

Japanese stock futures and Australian shares rose as U.S. housing data and an extended emergency loan program from the European Central Bank’s bolstered confidence in a global economic recovery.

American depositary receipts of Canon Inc., which is the world’s biggest camera maker and gets more than 80 percent of its sales abroad, climbed 1.3 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo. Those of Honda Motor Co., Japan’s second-largest carmaker by sales, gained 0.7 percent. BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s No. 1 mining company and Australia’s biggest oil producer, advanced 1.1 percent in Sydney today after metal prices increased and crude climbed to a two-year high yesterday.

“The increase in pending home sales was a positive surprise,” said Juichi Wako, a senior strategist at Tokyo-based Nomura Holdings Inc.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in December closed at 10,315 in Chicago yesterday, compared with 10,160 in Singapore. They were bid in the pre-market at 10,300 in Osaka, Japan, at 8:05 a.m. local time. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.8 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index advanced 0.5 percent in Wellington.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed today. The index climbed 1.3 percent yesterday in New York, led by financial shares after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. raised its rating on the industry.

Housing, Jobs, Retail

Pending sales of U.S. existing houses jumped by a record 10 percent in October, the National Association of Realtors said yesterday. That compares with a median estimate by 40 economists surveyed by Bloomberg for a 1 percent drop. Separate reports showed claims for jobless benefits over the past month on average dropped to a two-year low, and that November chain-store sales exceeded estimates.

European Central Bank policy makers meeting in Frankfurt yesterday delayed the bank’s exit from emergency liquidity measures as a crisis of government debt threatens to engulf Portugal and Spain.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index increased 9.6 percent this year through yesterday, compared with gains of 9.5 percent by the S&P 500 and 7 percent by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Shares in the Asian benchmark are valued at 14.6 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 14.3 times for the S&P 500 and 12.1 times for the Stoxx 600.

Crude oil for January delivery jumped 1.4 percent in New York yesterday to $88 a barrel, the highest settlement since Oct. 8, 2008. The London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six industrial metals including copper and aluminum rose 1.6 percent yesterday, a third consecutive advance.

The 25-day Toraku index, a measure of daily stock winners and losers in Tokyo, reached 124 yesterday, the highest level since April 27. A level of more than 120 suggests to some investors the market is overheating.

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