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Japan, Australia Stocks May Be Little Changed Before ECB

July 5 (Bloomberg) -- Japanese and Australian stocks may open little changed after service-industry reports in Germany and the U.K. missed estimates amid speculation the European Central Bank and the Bank of England will ease monetary policy.

Shares of Canon Inc., the world’s biggest camera maker that gets 31 percent of its revenue in Europe, may be active in Tokyo. Inpex Corp., Japan’s No. 1 energy explorer, may be active after oil slid from the highest price in a month. Aquarius Platinum Ltd., the fourth-largest producer of the metal, may be active in Sydney after saying output will decline as it conserves cash amid falling prices.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average weren’t traded in Chicago yesterday with U.S. equity markets closed for a holiday. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index was little changed today in Wellington. Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed today as investors await a U.S. jobs report tomorrow.

“The market is likely to be in a gridlock,” said Mitsushige Akino, Tokyo-based executive officer at Ichiyoshi Investment Management Co., which oversees about 40 billion yen ($501 million). “You want to wait and see how the ECB meeting and the U.S. jobs data will come out. It’s not easy to buy or sell.”

A U.K. gauge of services activity based on a survey of purchasing managers fell to 51.3 in June from 53.3 in May, Markit Economics and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply said. The median forecast of 25 economists in a Bloomberg survey called for a reading of 52.9. A measure above 50 indicates expansion. A German services Purchasing Managers Index dropped to 49.9 last month from 51.8 in May, according to a separate report from Markit.

Interest Rates

ECB officials are expected to lower their benchmark rate by a quarter point to a record-low 0.75 percent today, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The Bank of England today will raise its target for bond purchases, according to another Bloomberg news survey.

U.S. employers increased payrolls by 90,000 workers in June after a 69,000 gain in May, according to the median forecast of 59 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News ahead of Labor Department figures due tomorrow.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 4.7 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 9.3 percent advance by the S&P 500 and a 5.2 percent increase by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 12 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.1 times for the S&P 500 and 10.8 times for the Stoxx 600.

Crude oil for August delivery dropped 61 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $87.05 a barrel at the end of electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

To contact the reporters on this story: Yoshiaki Nohara in Tokyo at; Toshiro Hasegawa in Tokyo at

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

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