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Japan Stock Futures Rise on Greece Agreement, U.S. Job Claims

Japanese stock futures rose after Greek policy makers said they reached an agreement on austerity measures required to receive a bailout and U.S. jobless claims dropped, boosting demand for riskier assets.

American depositary receipts of Canon Inc., a Japanese camera maker that gets 58 percent of its revenue in Europe and the Americas, rose 0.6 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo. Those of Komatsu Ltd., Japan’s largest construction machinery maker that generates 23 percent of its sales in China, rose 0.3 percent before a report today that economists forecast will show China’s exports and imports fell in January. Santos Ltd., an Australian oil and gas producer, added 0.4 percent after oil prices gained.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in March closed at 9,030 in Chicago yesterday, up from 9,010 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 9,020 in Osaka, at 8:05 a.m. local time. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was little changed. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index advanced 0.4 percent in Wellington.

“Greece reached some sort of agreement, but it’s still up for negotiation whether the rest of the European authorities will accept that agreement,” said Stephen Halmarick, Sydney-based head of investment markets research at Colonial First State Global Asset Management, which oversees about $150 billion. “You had increases in most equity markets across Europe and a very small increase in the U.S. It’s a good point for Asia.”

Greece must pass its latest austerity package into law and identify 325 million euros in spending cuts before euro-area governments endorse a second bailout for the country, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said.

U.S. Futures

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.1 percent today. The index rose 0.2 percent in New York yesterday after Greece’s government reached a deal on austerity measures required for a 130 billion-euro ($173 billion) financing package. Greece faces a 14.5 billion-euro bond payment on March 20 and is struggling to secure financing to avoid a default that could spark a new round of contagion in the euro area.

European finance chiefs are set to defer ratifying the rescue package for Greece, pressing the nation to put a newly struck austerity plan into action.

Fewer Americans than forecast filed claims for jobless benefits last week and consumer confidence rose to the highest level in a year, pointing to gains in spending as job prospects brighten.

Jobless Claims

Applications for jobless benefits decreased 15,000 in the week ended Feb. 4 to 358,000, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. Economists forecast 370,000 claims. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose to minus 41.7 in the period to Feb. 5 from minus 44.8 the previous week.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 11.2 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 7.5 percent advance by the S&P 500 and a 7.8 percent increase by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 14.1 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 12.9 times for the S&P 500 and 10.9 times for the Stoxx 600.

The Bloomberg China-US 55 Index of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. rose 0.2 percent to 106.29 in New York yesterday.

Crude for March delivery gained 1.1 percent to $99.84 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement in three weeks.

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