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Japan Stock Futures Little Changed Ahead of U.S. Economic Data

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March 30 (Bloomberg) -- Japanese Stock futures were little changed as investors waited for reports on Japan’s industrial production and U.S. consumer confidence and the Nikkei 225 Stock Average headed for its biggest quarterly gain in more than two years. Australian equities edged higher

American depositary receipts of Mizuho Financial Group Inc., Japan’s third-largest bank by market value, slid 2 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo. ADRs of commodities trader Mitsubishi Corp. lost 0.5 percent after raw material prices fell. BHP Billiton Ltd., Australia’s biggest oil producer, rose 0.4 percent after oil gained.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in June closed at 10,100 in Chicago yesterday, compared with 10,110 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 10,100 in Osaka, at 8:05 a.m. local time. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.1 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index added 0.2 percent in Wellington.

“It’s not a bearish case, but you just don’t have sustainability for the markets to reweight higher like they did three or four months ago,” Andrew Pease, Sydney-based chief investment strategist for the Asia-Pacific region at Russell Investment Group, which manages about $150 billion. “You are not going to see any acceleration from here and you may actually feel a bit of moderation” in the U.S.

Quarterly Rally

The Nikkei 225 has added almost 20 percent in the three months ending today, headed for the biggest rally since the second quarter of 2009.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed today after the index lost 0.2 percent in New York yesterday. The S&P 500 has risen 12 percent since the beginning of 2012 amid better-than-estimated economic data and expectations Europe would tame its crisis.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 11 percent this year through yesterday and the Stoxx Europe 600 Index has advanced 6.6 percent advance. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 1.41 times per book value, compared with 2.28 times for the S&P 500 and 1.42 times for the Stoxx 600.

Chinese stocks listed in the U.S. slumped a third day, led by SouFun Holdings Ltd., on concern profit growth is slowing as the global economy falters and the cost of lending remains at the highest in more than two years. The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. sank 1.4 percent to 101.86 yesterday in New York, the lowest level in three weeks.

The Thomson Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of raw materials fell 1.8 percent yesterday. Oil for May delivery advanced as much as 57 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $103.35 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

To contact the reporter on this story: Yoshiaki Nohara in Tokyo at

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

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