Japan, Australian Stock Futures Rise on ECB Bond Buying

Japanese and Australian stock futures rose after German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government backed the European Central Bank’s bond-buying plan, boosting the outlook for Asia-Pacific exporters.

American Depositary Receipts of Sony Corp., Japan’s No. 1 exporter of consumer electronics that gets a fifth of its sales in Europe, added 0.4 percent. BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest miner, climbed 0.9 percent after metals prices advanced. Bradken Ltd., an Australian supplier of tools and services, may be active after full-year profit topped estimates.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in September closed at 8,740 in Chicago yesterday, up from 8,730 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 8,730 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.3 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.1 percent in Wellington.

“Investors are hoping that Spain won’t request a full bailout. That would clear the way for the ECB to buy bonds in the secondary market,” said Stan Shamu, a market strategist at IG Markets Ltd. in Melbourne, a provider of trading services in stocks, bonds and commodities. “That’s still the main issue. Merkel did allude to the fact that Germany will support the move and that’s what was lacking last week.”

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed today. The gauge rose 0.2 percent yesterday after Merkel’s government backed the ECB’s bond-buying plan announced last week, according to spokesman Georg Streiter.

Bond Yields

Yields on Spanish and Italian bonds dropped amid speculation the ECB will buy the securities in an attempt to calm euro-region turmoil. Policymakers in Spain are resisting pressure to formally request aid from the ECB.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index, which lists some stocks from emerging markets, gained 9.2 percent from this year’s lowest level in June through yesterday amid speculation central banks from the U.S. to China and Europe would step up efforts to stimulate economic growth.

The regional benchmark traded at 12.2 times estimated earnings, compared with 13.5 times for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 11.5 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Reserve Bank of Australia will keep its benchmark overnight cash rate target rate at 3.5 percent, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 27 economists ahead of its decision today.

“The economy has shown some signs of stability,” said IG’s Shamu. “The RBA is on course to stay on hold.”

The Thomson Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of raw materials climbed 0.4 percent yesterday and the London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six industrial commodities including copper and aluminum advanced 0.7 percent.

The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese companies in the U.S. rose 3.1 percent to 90.10 yesterday in New York, the most since May 29.

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