Japan Stock Futures, Australia Shares Rise on U.S. Economic Data

Japanese stock futures and Australian shares rose as U.S. economic growth was revised higher and American home sales climbed to a three-year high.

American Depositary Receipts of Canon Inc., a Japanese camera maker that gets 80 percent of its sales abroad, gained 1.4 percent. Shares of Mitsubishi Electric Corp. may be active as broadcaster NHK reported the electronic-equipment maker may cut its profit forecast by 50 percent. Billabong International Ltd. gained 2.5 percent after Chief Financial Officer Craig White left the Australian surf-wear maker yesterday as the board considers a A$527 million ($553 million) takeover offer.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in March closed at 10,165 in Chicago yesterday, up from 10,030 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 10,150 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.3 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.1 percent, the highest level since December 2007.

There was another “set of better-than-expected U.S. economic data,” said Matthew Sherwood, head of markets research at Perpetual Investment, which manages about $25 billion in Sydney. “Even better news was evident in the revised U.S. September quarter GDP growth figures. Waning hope for a deal to avoid the U.S. fiscal cliff is keeping some investors on the sidelines.”

Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures were little changed today. The gauge climbed 0.6 percent yesterday as House Speaker John Boehner said he expects to keep working on a budget plan with President Barack Obama.

Tax Vote

The House is due to vote on Boehner’s plan to raise taxes on incomes over $1 million, a plan which the White House has said Obama would veto because he wants the threshold set at $400,000. Boehner accused Obama of being unwilling to stand up to fellow Democrats in the fight over how to avert spending cuts and tax increases scheduled to begin in January.

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes climbed to a three-year high in November, reinforcing forecasts that the industry is set to contribute to annual economic growth for the first time since 2005. Purchases of existing houses increased 5.9 percent to a 5.04 million annual rate, the most since November 2009, the National Association of Realtors said yesterday in Washington. The median forecast of 82 economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected a 4.9 million rate.

The U.S. economy grew at a 3.1 percent annual rate in the third quarter, more than previously reported, according to Commerce Department figures released yesterday.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index has risen about 13 percent this year though yesterday as central banks around the world took action to spur growth and on signs of recovery in the U.S. and China. The gauge traded at 14.7 times average estimated earnings compared with 13.9 for the S&P 500 Index and 12.8 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. climbed 0.5 percent to 97.67 in New York, the highest closing level since May 11.

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