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Japan’s Stock Futures Advance on Yen, Australian Shares Decline

Japanese stock futures gained as the yen weakened, raising expectations exporters’ earnings will improve. Australian shares fell after gold prices declined.

American depositary receipts of Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s biggest carmaker, gained 0.9 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo. Those of Canon Inc., a Japanese camera maker that earns about 80 percent of its revenue overseas, rose 0.8 percent. Newcrest Mining Ltd., Australia’s largest gold producer, dropped 0.5 percent in Sydney after gold prices fell.

“The global economy is on track for mild recovery in terms of fundamentals,” said Hiroichi Nishi, an equities manager in Tokyo at Nikko Cordial Securities Inc. “Investors are likely to buy stocks, led by those of export-related industries, on the reversal of the yen’s appreciation.”

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in December closed at 10,200 in Chicago yesterday, compared with 10,150 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 10,190 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time today. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slid 0.3 percent in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index gained 0.4 percent in Wellington.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 11 percent this year through yesterday, compared with gains of 9.7 percent by the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 7.9 percent by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Shares in the Asian benchmark are valued at 14.4 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 14.4 times for the S&P 500 and 12.2 times for the Stoxx 600.

Dollar Advances

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.1 percent today. The index rose 0.1 percent yesterday, after surging 1 percent earlier. U.S. Stocks pared gains in the final hour of trading, pulling the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index down from a two-year high, after a probe of insider trading reportedly widened and President Barack Obama said he’ll push to overhaul the tax code in two years.

The dollar rose against most of its major counterparts as Treasury yields surged on speculation an agreement to extend tax cuts will boost the economy, increasing demand for U.S. assets. The greenback rallied against the euro and the yen after Obama broke a stalemate about extending middle-class tax cuts introduced by the administration of George W. Bush.

The yen depreciated to as low as 83.55 against the dollar today in Tokyo, compared with 82.51 at the close of stock trading yesterday. Against the euro, Japan’s currency weakened to 110.81 from 110.11. A weaker yen boosts overseas income at Japanese companies when converted into their home currency.

Gold futures for delivery in February fell 0.5 percent in New York yesterday, the first decline since Nov. 26, as investors stepped up sales following a six-session rally to a record. Gold for immediately delivery reached a record $1,431.25.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 0.6 percent last month after two straight monthly gains as concern grew that China’s anti-inflation measures, Europe’s debt crisis and tensions on the Korean peninsula will cool the global economic recovery.

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