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Japan Stock Futures Gain on Weaker Yen, Export Earnings Outlook

Japanese stock futures rose after the yen weakened for an eighth day against the dollar, the longest losing streak in seven years, boosting the earnings outlook for exporters. Australian equities rose.

American Depositary Receipts of Sony Corp., Japan’s biggest consumer-electronics exporter, gained 0.8 percent from the closing price in Tokyo. Those of Mizuho Financial Group Inc., Japan’s No. 3 publicly traded bank, rose 0.4 percent on a report the government is asking the Bank of Japan to boost an asset-purchase program. BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s No. 1 mining company by market value, rose 0.5 percent.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in December closed at 9,080 in Chicago yesterday, up from 9,020 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 9,050 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.2 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index slid 0.1 percent in Wellington.

“The yen’s weakness is coming close to a level of 80 yen per dollar, encouraging investors to buy export-related shares such as electronics, cars and machinery,” said Fumiyuki Nakanishi, a strategist at Tokyo-based SMBC Friend Securities Co. “The Bank of Japan is getting ready to add easing policies at its Oct. 30 meeting amid economic condition that are clearly deteriorating.”

The Sankei newspaper, citing an unnamed government official, says the government has asked the Bank of Japan to increase its asset-purchase program by 20 trillion yen ($250 billion).

U.S. Futures

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.1 percent today. The gauge rose less than 0.1 percent yesterday in New York, reversing an earlier loss of 0.8 percent, as an advance in Apple Inc. shares overshadowed disappointing corporate results.

The yen depreciated to as low as 79.97 against the dollar today in Tokyo, the weakest level since July 6. Against the euro, Japan’s currency touched to 104.47, the lowest level since May. A weaker yen boosts the value of overseas income at Japanese companies when repatriated.

The Bloomberg China-US 55 Index of the most-traded Chinese equities in the U.S rose 1.2 percent to 96.65 in New York yesterday, the highest level since May 11. LDK Solar Co. led a gain in the gauge on plans to sell new shares to state-owned investors.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rebounded 13 percent through yesterday from this year’s low on June 4 as stimulus measures in Europe, the U.S., Japan and China boosted market sentiment amid a global economic slowdown and Europe’s debt crisis. The Asian benchmark traded at 13 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.7 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12.2 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

Japan’s current earnings season peaks next week, with 570 of the 1,672 Topix companies reporting results. Nintendo Co. and steelmaker JFE Holdings Inc. are among 126 companies scheduled to post this week.

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