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Japan Stock Futures, Australian Shares Gain on Europe Optimism

Nov. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Japanese stock futures and Australian stocks gained on speculation European leaders will boost efforts to end the region’s sovereign-debt crisis.

American depositary receipts of Honda Motor Co., a Japanese carmaker that gets almost 85 percent of its sales abroad, rose 0.8 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo yesterday. Those of Mitsubishi Corp., Japan’s largest commodities trader by market value, gained 0.8 percent, while Rio Tinto Group, the world’s second-biggest mining company by sales, rose 0.6 percent in Sydney as commodity prices advanced.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in December closed at 8,390 in Chicago yesterday, compared with 8,310 in Osaka, Japan. The contracts were bid in the pre-market at 8,390 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.3 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index advanced 1.1 percent in Wellington.

“There are increasing expectations that some additional support for the European debt crisis will come out at the European summit meeting next month,” said Fumiyuki Nakanishi, a strategist at Tokyo-based SMBC Friend Securities Co. “The expectations won’t last long and the markets will likely react nervously to European news.”

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.1 percent today. In New York, the Index gained 2.9 percent yesterday after Thanksgiving retail sales climbed to a record amid speculation European leaders will do more to tame the debt crisis. U.S. retail sales during the Thanksgiving weekend increased 16 percent to $52.4 billion, the National Retail Federation said on Nov. 27, citing a BIGresearch survey.

Europe Talks

In Europe, German newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are discussing an agreement under which member states will commit to tighter budget discipline without waiting for treaty changes. The newspaper did not say where it got the information.

Bets that European leaders are closer to stemming the debt crisis increased appetite for higher-risk assets, weakening the dollar and yen versus most major counterparts.

The yen depreciated to as low as 104.52 against the euro today in Tokyo, compared with 103.27 at the close of stock trading yesterday. Against the dollar, Japan’s currency also fell to 78.24 from 77.63. A weaker yen boosts overseas income at Japanese companies when repatriated.

Crude oil for January delivery increased $1.44 to $98.21 a barrel yesterday in New York, the highest settlement since Nov. 17. The London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six metals including copper and aluminum climbed 2.7 percent, the biggest gain since Oct. 27.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 19 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 5.2 percent drop by the S&P 500 and a 17 percent slump by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 12.3 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 12.1 times for the S&P 500 and 10.1 times for the Stoxx 600.

The Japanese government is scheduled to release reports on the jobless rate and retail sales for October at 8:30 a.m. today in Tokyo.

To contact the reporters on this story: Norie Kuboyama in Tokyo at; Masaaki Iwamoto in Tokyo at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Gentle at

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