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Japanese, Australian Stock Futures Rise on U.S. Jobs Report

Asian Stocks
Pedestrians are reflected in an electronic stock board outside a securities firm in Tokyo, Japan. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Japanese and Australian stock futures rose as fewer jobless claims in the U.S. and higher corporate earnings overshadowed concern Europe’s debt crisis is worsening.

American depositary receipts of Canon Inc., the world’s biggest camera maker, jumped 4.8 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo after the company said it will buy back its own shares. Those of Toyota Motor Corp., the largest global carmaker that counts North America as its biggest market, climbed 1.4 percent. ADRs of BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company and Australia’s No. 1 oil producer, advanced 2 percent after crude and metal prices increased.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in September closed at 9,070 in Chicago yesterday, compared with 8,980 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 9,060 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 1.8 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index, the first market to open in the Asia-Pacific region, gained 1.6 percent in Wellington.

“The latest U.S. jobs data and earnings results are a reasonable indicator of the health of the economy and may suggest that things are not as dire as the markets had feared,” said Prasad Patkar, who helps manage the equivalent of $1.7 billion at Sydney-based Platypus Asset Management Ltd. “However, fundamentals are not really driving stock markets at the moment. To a large extent, we may be getting a bounce because they are oversold.”

U.S. Stocks Rebound

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slid 0.2 percent today. In New York, the index surged 4.6 percent to 1,172.64 yesterday, reversing the previous day’s drop, as a decline in jobless claims and better-than-estimated corporate earnings tempered concern Europe’s debt crisis is worsening. The gauge had plunged as much as 18 percent from its 2011 high.

Claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly dropped last week to a four-month low, signaling the job market is being hampered by a lack of hiring rather than more firings.

A separate report showed that the U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly increased in June to the highest level since October 2008 as a slump in exports exceeded a decline in imports.

U.S. stocks were also boosted by better-than estimated earnings at companies from Cisco Systems Inc., the world’s largest maker percent of networking equipment, to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

Japanese Profits

Among the 1,453 Japanese companies in the Topix index that posted quarterly earnings results since July 11, 203 beat the average analyst profit estimate, while 120 reported disappointing results, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 11 percent this year through yesterday, compared with drops of 6.8 percent by the S&P 500 and 16.4 percent by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 12.3 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 11.8 times for the S&P 500 and 9.4 times for the Stoxx 600.

Crude oil for September delivery climbed 3.4 percent to settle at $85.72 a barrel in New York yesterday. The London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six industrial metals including copper and aluminum jumped 3.1 percent yesterday, the most since March 17.

The yen depreciated to 76.94 against the dollar, compared with 76.62 at the close of stock trading in Tokyo yesterday. Against the euro, Japan’s currency weakened to 109.73 from 108.99. A weaker yen boosts the value of overseas income at Japanese companies when converted into their home currency.

Share Buyback

Canon will spend as much as 50 billion yen ($650 million) to buy back up to 1.2 percent of its outstanding shares, it said in a statement to the Tokyo Stock Exchange yesterday.

Taiheiyo Cement Corp., a Japanese cement maker, which had delayed its earnings forecast because of March’s earthquake, said full-year net income will probably rise to 11.3 billion yen from 4.45 billion yen a year earlier.

The company will pay an annual dividend of 4 yen per share this year, up from the previous year’s payout of 2.5 yen, according to a statement to the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

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