Japanese Stock Futures Rise as Investors Back Stimulus

Japanese and Australian stock futures rose as investors speculated central-bank action to stimulate growth will be enough to offset signs of weakening economic expansion from Asia, to Europe and the U.S.

American Depositary Receipts of Sharp Corp. rose 0.3 percent as the Mainichi newspaper reported Intel Corp. is in talks to invest more than 30 billion yen ($383 million) in the Japanese TV maker. Shares of Yaskawa Electric Corp., a Japanese industrial-robot manufacturer, may be active as Credit Suisse Group AG advised buying the shares. GrainCorp Ltd., eastern Australia’s largest grain handler, may gain after JPMorgan Chase & Co. upgraded the shares to overweight.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in December closed at 9,035 in Chicago yesterday, up from 8,990 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 9,030 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 was little changed in Wellington.

“Global central banks have done all in their power to rescue the financial markets from the doldrums,” said Gerard Minack, a Sydney-based strategist at Morgan Stanley. “Investor positioning remains underweight, and putting money back in the markets could lead to a self-fulfilling grind higher. Our overall caution stems first and foremost from a belief that the macro environment will not improve in the near term.”

Annual Gain

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 7.6 percent this year through yesterday as central banks in Europe, China, the U.S. and Japan took action to stimulate growth. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has increased 16 percent and the Stoxx Europe 600 Index has gained 12 percent. The Asian benchmark traded at 12.7 times estimated earnings compared with 14.1 for the S&P 500 and 12.1 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index advanced 0.1 percent today. The gauge slid yesterday for the third time in four days as data from in the U.S., China, Europe and Japan increased concern that a global economic slowdown is worsening.

In the U.S., more Americans than forecast filed unemployment claims last week and a gauge of leading indicators fell in August, report showed yesterday. Manufacturing in the Philadelphia region shrank for a fifth straight month in September. In Europe, euro-area services and manufacturing output fell to a 39-month low in September.

The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. sank 1.6 percent to 91.27 yesterday after a manufacturing index signaled production may contract for an 11th month.

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