Japan Stock Futures Rise on U.S. Factory Data, Stimulus

Japanese and Australian stock futures rose as U.S. factory orders topped estimates and commodities climbed to a two-month high amid speculation central bank action will boost economic growth.

American Depositary Receipts of BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, climbed 1.9 percent as raw-materials surged. ADRs of Komatsu Ltd., a Japanese maker of construction equipment that generates 23 percent of sales in the U.S., advanced 0.6 percent. Those of Nissan Motor Co. advanced 0.9 percent as its North American sales rose 28 percent, exceeding the 21 percent average estimate of analysts.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in September closed at 9,145 in Chicago yesterday, up from 9,070 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 9,140 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.7 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.5 percent in Wellington.

“It is wrong to be too bearish about equities,” said Garry Evans, head of global equity strategy at HSBC Holdings Plc in Hong Kong. “We expect growth in the region to reaccelerate in the second half of this year as authorities step up their policy response to the current slowdown. A positive policy response could have a profound impact on Asia’s stock markets, given the current high level of risk aversion.”

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed today, with equity markets closed for a holiday. The underlying stock gauge climbed 0.6 percent to a two-month high yesterday after data showed factory orders rose in May for the first time in three months.

U.S. Growth

The International Monetary Fund yesterday cut its growth forecast for the U.S. economy as Managing Director Christine Lagarde said further monetary policy easing may be needed by the Federal Reserve if the situation was to deteriorate. The U.S. economy will grow by 2 percent this year, the IMF said in a statement yesterday, cutting its previous 2.1 percent estimate.

The MSCI Asia-Pacific has climbed to its highest level since May 10 after euro-zone leaders last week agreed to relax conditions for recapitalizing lenders, easing concern about the debt region’s crisis.

The European Central Bank and the Bank of England announce interest-rate decisions tomorrow. ECB officials will lower their benchmark rate by 25 basis points to a record low 0.75 percent, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 57 economists.

China Stimulus

China may cut lenders’ reserve requirements to increase liquidity in the banking system, according to a commentary on the front page of yesterday’s China Securities Journal, which is published by the official Xinhua News Agency. The People’s Bank of China announced a cut to interest rates on June 7, a day after the newspaper published a commentary urging the move.

The Asian benchmark gained 4.3 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 9.3 percent advance by the S&P 500 and a 5.3 percent increase by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks on the Asian benchmark are valued at 12 times estimated earnings on average, compared with a multiple of 13.1 for the S&P 500 and 10.8 times for the Stoxx 600.

The Thomson Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of raw materials climbed 3 percent yesterday to its highest level since May 10.

The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese companies in New York added 1.3 percent to 91.76 yesterday in New York.

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