Japanese and Australian stock futures were little changed as investors await details on economic growth in the U.S. tomorrow and indications from the Federal Reserve at the end of the week.
American depositary receipts of BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, slid 0.4 percent as commodity prices declined. ADRs of Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp., the world’s biggest telecommunications carrier, slid 0.5 percent as the Nikkei reported it will cut fiber-optic fees by 30 percent from September. Flight Centre Ltd. shares may be active in Sydney after the travel operator reported profit that topped estimates.
Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring next month closed at 9,100 in Chicago yesterday, down from 9,110 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 9,090 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 retreated 0.1 percent in Wellington.
“The market’s primary focus is on Wednesday’s U.S. GDP report and Friday’s Jackson Hole’s talk by U.S. Fed Chairman Ben. S Chairman Bernanke, who might provide some guidance on upcoming Fed monetary policy,” said Matthew Sherwood, Sydney-based head of investment markets research at Perpetual Investments. Perpetual manages about $25 billion.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 9.9 percent from a June low through yesterday on bets the U.S., Europe and China will take action to propel economic expansion. This left the benchmark gauge valued at 12.5 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.7 for the S&P 500 and 11.7 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Volume on the Asian measure yesterday fell to 6 billion shares, 22 percent below the average of 7.7 billion during 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Bernanke probably won’t use his Aug. 31 speech at the Fed’s annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to suggest a third round of bond buying is at hand, according to economists including Michael Feroli, of JPMorgan Chase & Co., and James O’Sullivan, at High Frequency Economics.
Fed Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans yesterday urged the central bank to begin a third round of asset buying. The Fed should buy bonds until the U.S. unemployment rate declines for at least six months, Evans said in a speech in Hong Kong.
Members of the Federal Open Market Committee -- who meet next on Sept. 12-13 -- are monitoring unemployment and have been divided about whether to spur expansion. The U.S. economy also remains beholden to political decisions made in Washington and in Europe, which is struggling to contain its debt crisis.
The Commerce Department’s first revision to second-quarter gross domestic product on Aug. 29 may show an expansion of 1.7 percent compared with an initially reported 1.5 percent increase, according to median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. In the first three months of the year, the economy expanded 2 percent.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed today. The gauge lost 0.1 percent yesterday.
The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese companies in the U.S. slid 0.8 percent yesterday.
The Thomson Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of raw materials retreated 0.1 percent.