Japan, Australia Futures Little Changed on Growth Concern

Japanese and Australian stock futures were little changed amid concern central banks will struggle to stimulate growth as weakness in the global economy and an unresolved debt crisis in Europe constrains spending.

American Depositary Receipts of Komatsu Ltd., the world’s second-biggest maker of construction equipment that gets 80 percent of sales outside of Japan, slid 1.9 percent. Shares of Yue Yuen Industrial (Holdings) Ltd., a shoemaker that gets about 8 percent of sales from Nike Inc., may be active in Hong Kong after the world’s largest sporting-goods company forecast orders that trailed analysts’ estimates as demand sank in China.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in December closed at 8,960 in Chicago yesterday, at the same level futures ended in Osaka, Japan. They were also 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 were little changed today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.5 percent in Wellington.

We are “cautiously positioned overall and skeptical about the risk rally’s sustainability without growth improving,” said Gerard Minack, global strategist at Morgan Stanley in Sydney.

“Fundamentals will trump central bank policy. Mixed-to-poor macro data and warnings from bellwether stocks underline the downside risk to consensus earnings forecasts. Events in Europe suggest that the cycle of crisis, response, improvement, complacency, could be rotating back into a crisis phase.”

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 4.1 percent this month and 4.5 percent this quarter as central banks in Europe, the U.S. and Japan took action to stimulate economic growth. The gauge advanced 7.6 percent this year compared with a 15 percent gain on the S&P 500 and an 11 percent advance on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. The Asian benchmark traded at 12.8 times estimated earnings compared with 14 for the S&P 500 and 12 for the Stoxx Europe 600.

Futures on the S&P 500 were little changed today. The gauge advanced 1 percent yesterday, halting a five-day slump, as U.S. stocks joined a global rally amid speculation that China’s government will do more to support growth. The optimism outweighed U.S. data signaling a slowdown in business spending and weaker-than-estimated second-quarter economic growth.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government announced its fifth austerity package in what may be a move to head off tougher conditions as part of a potential European bailout.

The Thomson Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of raw materials climbed 1.2 percent yesterday.

The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. climbed the most in two weeks, gaining 2.2 percent to 92.20 yesterday.

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