Japan Stocks Traded in U.S. Fall as Oil Surges; Australia Gains

Japanese stocks traded in the U.S. fell after oil prices surged, raising concern that higher energy costs will hamper the nation’s economic recovery. Australian stocks rose.

American depositary receipts of Canon Inc., the world’s biggest camera maker, dropped 1.9 percent in New York, and those of Panasonic Corp., an electronics maker, retreated 1.1 percent. Woodside Petroleum Ltd., Australia’s No. 2 oil and gas producer, climbed 1.5 percent in Sydney today. The Japanese government will acquire a stake in Tokyo Electric Power Co. to influence management and ensure a steady electricity supply, the Mainichi newspaper reported, citing an unidentified government official.

“There are more listed companies in Japan that feel the negative effects of higher oil prices since they cannot pass on costs, than companies that benefit,” said Takero Inaizumi, head of equity research in Tokyo at Mizuho Investors Securities Co. Speculation that Tokyo Electric may be partly nationalized “could adversely affect shares of banks and financial stocks.”

The Bank of New York Mellon Japan ADR Index fell 1 percent yesterday. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.4 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index was little changed in Wellington.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed today. The index fell 0.2 percent yesterday as a Federal Reserve official said interest rates may need to rise and concern about Europe’s debt crisis grew.

Crude Oil Rises

Crude oil for May delivery rose 2.4 percent to $106.72 a barrel, the highest settlement since Sept. 26, 2008, on the New York Mercantile Exchange, amid concern that the Libyan conflict will prolong production cuts.

The Nikkei 225 declined 12 percent in the Japanese fiscal year that finished yesterday, and dropped 4.6 percent last quarter. Among the 33 industry groups in the Topix, utility companies including Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the nuclear plant crippled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, tumbled the most last year, followed by brokerages, while oil refiners climbed the most.

Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., the maker of Subaru cars, may be active today after the company said it will suspend output of passenger cars in Japan through April 5.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 1.4 percent this year through yesterday, compared with gains of 5.4 percent by the S&P 500 and almost no change by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Shares in the Asian benchmark are valued at 13.7 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.7 times for the S&P 500 and 11.1 times for the Stoxx 600.

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