Japanese stock futures were little changed as investors awaited indications that European Union finance ministers have made progress on providing aid for Greece at their third meeting this month. CSL Ltd. led gains among Australian equities.
American Depositary Receipts of Canon Inc., a Japanese camera maker that gets 80 percent of sales abroad, slid 1.1 percent. ADRs of Honda Motor Co. lost 0.6 percent as Macquarie Research downgraded the stock after the carmaker’s shares closed at the highest level in more than six months. CSL, the world’s second-biggest maker of blood-derived therapies, surged 6 percent in Sydney after saying it expects profit growth of about 20 percent.
Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring next month closed at 9,395 in Chicago yesterday, down from 9,400 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 9,380 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.1 percent, led by CSL. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index was little changed in Wellington.
“Euro group finance ministers are currently meeting as they look to reach an agreement on Greece which would eventually lead to them receiving their next tranche of aid,” said Stan Shamu, a market strategist at IG Markets Ltd. in Melbourne. “Of course, having failed to reach an agreement last week, there is always a chance that some pieces of the negotiation won’t fall into place and further stall a decision.”
Euro-area finance ministers are meeting in Brussels to try to plug Greece’s funding shortfall and produce a plan to keep the country a solvent member of the currency bloc. They failed to make reach a decision in two previous meetings this month. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is attending the meeting.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed today. The S&P 500 fell 0.2 percent yesterday, following its biggest weekly advance since June, as lawmakers prepared to debate the so-called fiscal cliff and euro-area finance ministers discuss Greek aid.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index yesterday posted its longest winning streak since the second week of September. The Asian benchmark gained 13 percent from this year’s low on June 4 through yesterday as central banks added stimulus to spur economic growth and data showed a slowdown in China may be ending. The Asian benchmark index traded at 13.9 times estimated earnings, compared with 13.6 times for the S&P 500 Index and 12.4 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.
The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. retreated 1 percent yesterday in New York.