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Japan Stock Futures Little Changed as Investors Await Fed

Japanese stock futures were little changed as investors considered whether the Federal Reserve will step up economic stimulus this week and China’s industrial output dropped. Australian equity futures gained.

American Depositary Receipts of BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, gained 2 percent as metals prices advanced. ADRs of Komatsu Ltd., the world’s second-biggest construction-equipment maker that gets 24 percent of sales in the Americas, climbed 0.4 percent after a weaker-than estimated U.S. payrolls report. Hitachi Construction Machinery Ltd. may be active as China’s industrial output grew at the slowest pace in three years. Technology stocks from Nikon Corp. to Tokyo Electron Ltd. may be active after Intel Corp., the world’s No. 1 semiconductor maker, cut its sales forecast.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring this month closed at 8,875 in Chicago Sept. 7, down from 8,880 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 8,870 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.4 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.6 percent in Wellington. The Federal Open Market Committee will meet Sept. 12-13 to discuss monetary policy.

“Following the weak U.S. jobs report, the backdrop is ideal to act this week and deliver more quantitative easing,” said George Boubouras, Melbourne-based head of investment strategy at UBS AG’s Australian wealth management unit. The Swiss bank has about $1.5 trillion in assets under management. “This week is looking like the last window for the Fed to act,” before the U.S. election.

U.S. Futures

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.1 percent today. The underlying index gained 0.4 percent on Sept. 7 as Labor Department figures showed the economy added 96,000 workers last month following a revised 141,000 increase in July that was smaller than initially estimated. The median estimate of 92 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a gain of 130,000. The unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 8.1 percent, and hourly earnings were unchanged.

Intel’s third-quarter sales will be $12.9 billion to $13.5 billion, down from a prior projection of $13.8 billion to $14.8 billion, the Santa Clara, California-based company said in a statement on Sept. 7. Analysts on average had estimated sales of $14.2 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

In China, industrial production increased 8.9 percent in August from a year earlier and fixed-asset investment growth in the first eight months eased to 20.2 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday in Beijing. The data underscore risks that full-year growth in the world’s second-biggest economy will slow to the weakest level in more than two decades.

Europe Debt

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index has fallen more than 7 percent from this year’s high on Feb. 29, dragging the value of shares on the Asian benchmark index to 12.4 times estimated earnings. That compares with 13.9 times for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

Still, the Asian benchmark rallied Sept 7. by the most since Dec. 1 after ECB President Mario Draghi said policy makers agreed to an unlimited bond-purchase program as they try to regain control of interest rates in the euro area.

The London Metals Exchange of industrials metals surged 3 percent Sept. 7.

The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. advanced 1.2 percent on Sept. 7 to end last week at 88.84.

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