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Japan Stock Futures Little Changed Before U.S. Payrolls

Japanese stock futures were little changed as investors awaited monthly U.S. payrolls data that may give evidence about the strength of the economic recovery.

American Depositary Receipts of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., Japan’s second-biggest bank by market value, gained 0.4 percent as Morgan Stanley advised buying the shares. ADRs of Komatsu Ltd., which gets about a quarter of its sales in the U.S., slid 0.7 percent.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring this month closed at 9,540 in Chicago yesterday, the same level at which they closed in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 9,530 in Osaka, at 8:05 a.m. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.4 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index slid less than 0.1 percent in Wellington.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose less than 0.1 percent today. The gaueg gained 0.3 yesterday as Apple Inc. rebounded from its biggest drop in four years and investors weighed prospects for a budget deal in Washington.

Jobless claims decreased by 25,000 to 370,000 in the week ended Dec. 1, Labor Department figures showed. The median forecast of 52 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a drop to 380,000.

Data today from the department of labor is expected to show U.S. payrolls rose by 85,000 workers last month, the smallest gain since June, according to the median forecast of economists.

The European Central Bank cut its growth forecast and central bank President Mario Draghi said the euro area won’t start to shake off its slump until the second half of 2013, leaving the door open to further interest-rate reductions. The ECB now forecasts the economy will shrink 0.5 percent this year, more than the 0.4 percent contraction it predicted in September.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 15 percent through yesterday from this year’s low on June 4 as central banks added stimulus to spur economic growth. The benchmark index traded at 14.2 times estimated earnings, compared with 13.6 times for the S&P 500 Index and 12.6 times for the Stoxx Europe 600.

The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. gained 0.1 percent yesterday.

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