Japanese stock futures were little changed before the Bank of Japan ends a two-day meeting today, while investors examined minutes of a Federal Reserve meeting for signs the central bank may add to U.S. stimulus measures.
American depositary receipts of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Japan’s biggest lender, fell 0.3 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo. Those of Canon Inc., which gets 80 percent of its revenue outside of Japan, rose 0.4 percent after the yen fell against all of its 16 major counterparts yesterday. ADRs of Woodside Petroleum Ltd., Australia’s second-largest oil and gas producer, gained 0.2 percent as oil rose.
Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in September closed at 8,865 in Chicago yesterday compared with 8,850 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 8,860 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index were little changed today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index fell 0.1 percent in Wellington.
“Investors will sit on the fence until results of the BOJ meeting come out,” said Mitsushige Akino, Tokyo-based executive officer at Ichiyoshi Investment Management Co., which oversees about 40 billion yen ($502 million). “Few expect the BOJ to do more easing this time. If they do, I think stocks will rise with the yen weakening.”
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.1 percent today. The index closed little changed in New York yesterday, erasing losses in the final hour of trading as investors weighed the Federal Reserve’s policy minutes from its June meeting for evidence that the central bank may be closer to additional stimulus actions.
Trading volume on the Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average was 17 percent below the 30-day average yesterday before the Bank of Japan meeting ends today. Ten of 17 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News expect no change to monetary policy after sentiment among large manufacturers improved last quarter, according to the BOJ’s Tankan survey released last week.
The yen fell 0.4 percent to 79.76 per dollar yesterday, the biggest drop since June 29. A weaker yen boosts the value of exporters’ overseas earnings when repatriated and eases political pressure on the BOJ to do more to spur growth.
Oil for August delivery advanced $1.90 to settle at $85.81 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 2.4 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 6.7 percent advance by the S&P 500 and a 4.5 percent increase by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 11.8 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 12.9 times for the S&P 500 and 10.7 times for the Stoxx 600.
The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. was little changed at 88.06 yesterday.