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Japan Stock Futures Rise Before GDP Data; Australian Shares Gain

Japanese stock futures rose before a report that may show the world’s third-biggest economy returned to growth in the fourth quarter amid speculation the Bank of Japan will continue stimulus measures. Australian shares gained.

American Depositary Receipts of Nissan Motor Corp., which gets 80 percent of its car sale outside Japan, climbed 1.5 percent as the yen traded near the lowest level since August 2009. Shares of Mitsubishi Estate Co. may be active after Credit Suisse Group AG advised selling stocks in Japan’s biggest property developer. BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, rose 0.6 percent in Sydney as metal prices advanced.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in June closed at 12,070 in Chicago yesterday, up from 11,900 at the close in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 12,090 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.2 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.4 percent.

“The rally in Japanese equities is likely to continue,” Guy Stear, Hong Kong-based head of research for Asia-Pacific at Societe Generale SA wrote in a report. We have “a new political landscape at last. Hold tight, don’t take profits yet.”

Japan’s Topix Index surged 39 percent from the announcement of elections on Nov. 14 on optimism the new government will beat deflation, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe nominating Haruhiko Kuroda, a -proponent of monetary easing, to lead the central bank. A report on Japanese gross domestic product, to be released at 8:50 a.m. in Tokyo, may show the economy grew 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter from the previous three months, according to a survey of economists.

U.S. Jobs

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed. The S&P 500 gained 0.2 percent yesterday and the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed to another record as the number of Americans who filed for unemployment benefits fell to a six-week low.

China’s customs administration is scheduled to report trade data today. Exports probably grew 8.1 percent in February, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of economists, down from a 25 percent pace in January. The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. climbed 0.2 percent in New York yesterday.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index, the benchmark regional equities gauge, traded at 14.9 times average estimated earnings yesterday compared with a multiple of 14 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12.6 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Thomson Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of raw materials rose 1 percent yesterday.

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