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Japan, Australia Stock Futures Fall on U.S. Manufacturing

Japanese and Australian stock futures fell as the slowest expansion in U.S. business activity since November 2009 signaled manufacturing is slowing in the world’s biggest economy, weakening the outlook for Asian exporters.

American depositary receipts of Sony Corp., Japan’s No. 1, consumer-electronics exporter, fell 1.7 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo on April 27. Those of Canon Inc., Japan’s biggest camera maker that depends on the Americas for 27 percent of sales, slid 1.3 percent. ADRs of Alumina Ltd., an Australian partner in the world’s No. 1 producer of the material used to make aluminum, dropped 1.6 percent.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average were bid in the pre-market at 9,470 in Osaka, Japan, at 8:05 a.m. local time. That compared with a closing level of 9,525 in Chicago and 9,500 in Osaka on April 27. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 0.1 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.2 percent in Wellington. Asian markets including Hong Kong, South Korea, China, India and Singapore are closed today for public holidays.

“It seems like the U.S. data is getting a little softer and this will likely weigh on exporters,” said Stan Shamu, a market strategist at IG Markets in Melbourne. “The Chinese production of manufacturing index reading will be the big one to watch later today.”

The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago Inc. said yesterday its barometer decreased to 56.2 during the month, lower than the most pessimistic forecast in a Bloomberg News survey, from 62.2 in March. Readings greater than 50 signal growth.

China’s Purchasing Managers’ Index for April is due to be released today in Beijing.

U.S. Futures

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.1 percent today. The index slid 0.4 percent in New York yesterday as the gauge posted its first monthly decline in five months.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 10.1 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 11.2 percent gain by the S&P 500 and a 5.2 percent advance by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 12.8 times estimated earnings on average, compared with a multiple of 13.3 for the S&P 500 and 10.8 times for the Stoxx 600.

The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese stocks listed in the U.S. slipped 0.7 percent to 103.48, the first decline in four days on concern slower economic growth is dragging on company sales and squeezing profits.

The London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six industrial metals including copper and aluminum closed little changed yesterday. The Thomson Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of raw materials advanced 0.1 percent.

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