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Japan, Australia Stock Futures Rise an U.S. Economic Data

(Corrects story published Oct. 4 to show a report said oil and gas companies including Woodside could owe East Timor a total of as much as $3 billion.)

Oct. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Japanese and Australian stock futures rose as reports on U.S. jobs and service industries beat economist estimates, easing concern the world’s biggest economy is slowing.

American depositary receipts of carmaker Honda Motor Co., which depends on North America for 44 percent of its sales, climbed 1.1 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo. Those of Woodside Petroleum Ltd. fell 2.7 percent after Four Corners reported oil and gas companies including Woodside could owe East Timor a total of as much as $3 billion in unpaid taxes, interest and penalties. Shares of Tokyo Electric Power Co. may be active on a report the utility at the center of last year’s nuclear disaster plans to cut annual costs by an extra 100 billion yen ($1.27 billion).

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in December closed at 8,790 in Chicago yesterday, compared with 8,750 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 8,810 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.3 percent ahead of the release of reports on building approvals and retail sales today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index slid 0.1 percent in Wellington.

U.S. jobs data “was a little bit better than expectations and that’s positive, but stimulus is there for a reason,” 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. “They need to really address true labor-market accelerations in North America.”

Relative Value

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 6.7 percent this year through yesterday as policy makers boosted stimulus measures to counter a global economic slowdown and tame Europe’s debt crisis. The Asian benchmark trades at 12.8 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.8 times for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.2 percent today. The index gained 0.4 percent in New York yesterday, when ADP Employer Services said companies added 162,000 jobs last month, exceeding the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg for a 140,000 advance. Service industries in the U.S. expanded more than forecast in September.

The Federal Reserve last month said it will buy $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities each month until the U.S. labor market recovers. The jobless rate in the U.S. probably rose to 8.2 percent last month from 8.1 percent in August, economists said ahead of a government jobs report due tomorrow. Payrolls probably increased by 115,000, economists predict.

China’s markets are closed this week for holidays. The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese stocks in the U.S. sank 0.4 percent to 91.93 in New York yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Yoshiaki Nohara in Tokyo at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John McCluskey at

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