Japan, Australian Stock Futures Rise on Greece Confidence Vote

Japanese and Australian stock futures rose as Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou won a parliamentary confidence vote, moving the country a step closer to avoiding a default on its debt.

American depositary receipts of Sony Corp., Japan’s largest exporter of consumer electronics that gets more than 20 percent of its sales in Europe, climbed 1.2 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo. Those of Toyota Motor Corp. advanced 1.1 percent after Deutsche Bank AG. raised its profit estimate for the world’s biggest carmaker. ADRs of BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s No. 1 mining company, gained 1.7 percent after metal prices increased.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in September closed at 9,525 in Chicago yesterday, compared with 9,450 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 9,510 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.8 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index increased 0.4 percent in Wellington.

“Excessive fears for Europe’s debt issues will decrease,” said Hiroichi Nishi, an equities manager in Tokyo at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. “As Papandreou won a confidence vote, Greece took a step forward to parliamentary approval and additional loans.”

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed today. In New York, the index rose 1.3 percent to 1,295.52 yesterday as concern about Greece’s debt crisis eased. Shares advanced even after a report showed sales of existing U.S. homes fell in May to the lowest level in six months.

Greek Vote

Purchases of existing homes dropped 3.8 percent to a 4.81 million annual pace last month, in line with the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of economists, data from the National Association of Realtors showed.

In Athens early today, a total of 155 lawmakers in the 300-seat parliament supported the confidence motion, with 143 voting against, Speaker Filippos Petsalnikos said in remarks carried live state-run Vouli TV.

Attention now turns to whether Papandreou can push through parliamentary approval next week of a 78 billion-euro ($112 billion) package of budget cuts to stave off the threat of default.

European finance ministers said this week they would hold off on approving a 12 billion-euro payment to the country promised for July until passage of the plans to cut the deficit, sell state assets and impose a “crisis levy” on wages.

Yen Falls

The yen depreciated to 115.83 against the euro, the lowest since June 15, compared with 115.04 at the close of stock trading in Tokyo yesterday. A weaker yen boosts the value of overseas income at Japanese companies when converted into their home currency.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 5.1 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a gain of 3 percent by the S&P 500 and a drop of 2.3 percent by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 13.3 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.1 times for the S&P 500 and 10.9 times for the Stoxx 600.

The London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six industrial metals including copper and aluminum rose 0.9 percent yesterday.

Deutsche Bank analyst Kurt Sanger increased his estimate of Toyota’s operating profit for the year ending in March 2012 to 500 billion yen ($6.2 billion) from 461 billion yen. That’s higher than Toyota’s target of 300 billion yen.

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