Japan Stock Futures Little Changed on Fed, China Policy Bets

Japanese and Australian stock futures were little changed as investors awaited the Federal Reserve’s policy announcement today and after a Chinese newspaper commentary said massive stimulus measures would be “detrimental” to the nation’s sustainable growth.

American depositary receipts of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Japan’s biggest lender, advanced 0.4 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo. Suppliers of Apple Inc. such as Murata Manufacturing Co. may be active after Apple unveiled a new version of the iPhone. Shares of Itochu Corp. may be active as the Japanese trading firm is in talks to buy from Dole Food Co.’s packaged-foods business and a unit in Asia.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring tomorrow closed at 8,945 in Chicago yesterday, compared with 8,950 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 8,960 in Osaka, at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.1 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index added 0.2 percent in Wellington as the nation’s central banks kept the key interest rate unchanged.

“Looks like people are expecting some form of easing, and the market will wait for that uncertainty to be cleared,” said Matt Riordan, a portfolio manager who helps manage about $6.5 billion in Sydney at Paradice Investment Management Pty. “Ultimately they will do something, but it’s an issue of timing whether they will do it now or they will wait toward the end of the year.”

Relative Value

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 3 percent this quarter as of yesterday as expectations of further stimulus measures overshadowed signs of a global economic slowdown. The Asian benchmark traded at 12.5 times estimated earnings, compared with 13.9 times for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12.1 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slid 0.1 percent today. The index added 0.2 percent in New York yesterday, when the Fed began a two-day meeting. The central bank will probably announce a third round of bond purchases today, according to almost two-thirds of economists in a Bloomberg survey.

Stocks also rose as Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court dismissed motions that sought to stop the government from contributing to the bailout fund for debt-stricken nations in the euro zone.

In China, massive stimulus measures would be “detrimental” to sustainable economic growth, the official Xinhua News Agency wrote in a commentary. That came after Premier Wen Jiabao on Sept. 11 signaled there’s more room for fiscal and monetary policy to support growth.

The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese companies in New York gained 0.6 percent to a three-week high of 89.94 yesterday.

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