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Japanese, Australian Stock Futures Rise on U.S. Retail Sales

Japanese and Australian stock futures rose after U.S. retail sales increased by the most in four months, boosting the earnings outlook for Asian exporters as concern eased that the world’s largest economy may stall.

American depositary receipts of Canon Inc., the world’s biggest camera maker, advanced 0.6 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo. Those of Trend Micro Inc., a Japanese maker of security software that gets a quarter of its sales in North America, gained 0.3 percent. ADRs of Alumina Ltd., a partner in the largest global producer of the material used to make aluminum, climbed 1.9 percent after the company’s stock rating was raised to “outperform” from “neutral” at Macquarie Group Ltd.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in September closed at 9,040 in Chicago on Aug. 12, compared with 8,960 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 9,050 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 1 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index advanced 0.9 percent in Wellington.

“People had been worried about the U.S. economy over the medium term, but after retail sales and an earlier jobs report exceeded estimates, people’s fears weren’t amplified,” said Kazuhiro Takahashi, a general manager at Daiwa Securities Capital Markets Co. in Tokyo. “U.S. stocks are calming down. There will be some buying in exporters and large-cap stocks.”

Retail Sales

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.1 percent today. In New York, the index gained 0.5 percent to 1,178.81 on Aug. 12 after economic reports showed retail sales rose and first-time applications for jobless benefits decreased.

The Commerce Department said on Aug. 12 retail sales climbed 0.5 percent in July, showing consumer spending was holding up at the start of the third quarter. The increase followed a 0.3 percent gain in June that was larger than previously estimated. First-time applications for jobless benefits fell 7,000 in the week ended Aug. 6 to 395,000, the fewest since early April, the Labor Department said Aug. 11.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 11 percent this year through Aug. 12, compared with drops of 6.3 percent by the S&P 500 and 14 percent by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 12.2 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 11.9 times for the S&P 500 and 9.7 times for the Stoxx 600.

The yen weakened after Japan’s finance minister said he is ready to intervene in the currency market again to stem a yen advance that risks slowing the nation’s recovery.

‘Unstable Situation’

“An unstable situation is continuing,” Yoshihiko Noda said during a talk show yesterday on public television broadcaster NHK. “As foreign exchange market matters are my prerogative, I will continue to closely watch the markets and take bold action if it becomes necessary.”

The yen depreciated to 76.93 against the dollar, compared with 76.81 at the close of stock trading in Tokyo on Aug. 12. Against the euro, Japan’s currency weakened to 109.74 from 109.06. A weaker yen boosts the value of overseas income at Japanese companies when converted into their home currency.

Japan’s Cabinet office is scheduled to release gross domestic product figures for the quarter ended June 30 at 8:50 a.m. in Tokyo. Japan’s GDP fell at an annualized 2.5 percent rate in the second quarter, according to the median forecast of 25 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

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