Japan Stock Futures Little Changed Before Europe Meeting

Japanese and Australian stock futures were little changed as investors await developments from euro-area finance ministers meeting this week to discuss a bailout package for debt-ridden Greece.

American Depositary Receipts of Canon Inc., a Japanese camera maker that gets a third of its sales in Europe, slid 0.3 percent. CSL Ltd. may be active in Sydney after the world’s second-biggest maker of blood-derived therapies reported profit that beat analysts’ estimates. Wistron Corp. may be active among Asian suppliers to Dell Inc. after the U.S. computer maker cut its full-year profit forecast.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring next month closed at 9,155 in Chicago yesterday, up from 9,150 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 9,150 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index declined less than 0.1 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index retreated 0.9 percent in Wellington.

“Markets should be pausing for breath until we see some more central-bank action,” said Nader Naeimi, Sydney-based head of dynamic asset allocation at AMP Capital Investors Ltd. The firm manages about $100 billion. “We’ve had a very strong rally in the last few weeks based on the verbal signs of intervention from the European Central Bank. Authorities are on the right track. It appears they are more united now.”

Almost three years after the European debt crisis came to light in Greece, the country remains at the heart of the turmoil as contagion spreads to Italy and Spain, prompting ECB chief Mario Draghi to announce proposals to re-enter the bond market to help lower government borrowing costs.

French President Francois Hollande is due in Berlin on Aug. 23 to discuss the crisis with German Chancellor Angela Merkel as the ECB fleshes out its plans.

Concessions Possible

Concessions are possible for Greece if its Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras, shows a willingness to meet the main targets set out in his country’s bailout program, a senior lawmaker with Merkel’s government said yesterday.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index declined 0.1 percent today. The gauge fell 0.4 percent yesterday to 1,413.17 after climbing as high as 1,426.68 as a slump in technology shares overshadowed optimism euro-area leaders will make progress in resolving the region’s crisis.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index retreated 6 percent from a Feb. 29 high through yesterday amid concern China’s economy is slowing and Europe’s debt crisis is deepening. Still, investor optimism that global central banks will take action to stimulate growth has pushed the gauge up 11 percent from its June low. Stocks on the measure were valued at 12.6 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.7 times for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 11.8 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Thomson Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of raw materials climbed 0.9 percent yesterday. The London Metal Exchange Index of six primary metals gained 1.8 percent.

The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese companies in the U.S. lost 1 percent, the most in three weeks, to 89.75 yesterday.

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