Japanese Stock Futures Gain on U.S. Home Sales, Earnings

Japanese stock futures rose as better-than-estimated company earnings and signs the U.S. housing market is stabilizing boosted the outlook for Asian exporters.

American depositary receipts of Sony Corp., Japan’s No. 1 consumer-electronics exporter, gained 1.6 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo as a weaker yen also strengthened its earnings outlook. ADRs of Mitsubishi Corp., Japan’s largest commodities trader by revenue, rose 0.9 percent after prices of oil and metals advanced. Shares of Shimano Inc. may be active after the bicycle parts maker said quarterly profit more than tripled.

“In addition to a weakening yen, a recovery trend on earnings is being seen both in Japan and the U.S. at the moment, boosting markets,” said Hiroichi Nishi, an equities manager in Tokyo at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. “The U.S. economy is still in mild recovery.”

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in June closed at 9,530 in Chicago yesterday, up from 9,480 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 9,550 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Markets in Australia and New Zealand are closed for national holidays.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.4 percent today. The index gained 0.4 percent in New York yesterday amid better-than-estimated earnings at companies from AT&T Inc. to 3M Co. and as data indicated the housing market is stabilizing.

The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values fell 3.5 percent from a year earlier, the smallest 12-month drop since February 2011. Also, sales of new U.S. homes were stronger than projected in March, indicating cheaper borrowing costs are helping stabilize the real-estate market.

Earnings Beat Estimates

Earnings per share beat forecasts at 82 percent of S&P 500 companies that reported results since April 10, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Per-share profits grew 3.3 percent in the first-quarter, up from the 0.8 percent growth projection before the earnings season started.

The yen depreciated to as low as 81.39 against the dollar today in Tokyo, compared with 80.91 at the close of stock trading yesterday. Against the euro, Japan’s currency weakened to 107.40 from 106.45. A weaker yen boosts the value of overseas income at Japanese companies when repatriated.

Crude oil for June delivery rose 0.4 percent to settle at $103.55 a barrel in New York yesterday. The London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six industrial commodities including copper and aluminum advanced 1.1 percent.

The Bloomberg China-US 55 Index of the most-traded Chinese equities in the U.S slipped 0.4 percent to 100.63 in New York yesterday on speculation declining profit for Facebook Inc. and Apple Inc.’s drop to a six-week low signal that the information technology sector is faltering.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 8.3 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 9.1 percent advance by the S&P 500 and a 4 percent increase by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 12.6 times estimated earnings on average, compared with a multiple of 13.1 for the S&P 500 and 10.6 times for the Stoxx 600.

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