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Australian Shares, Japanese Stock Futures Gain on U.S. Jobs

Australian shares and Japanese stock futures climbed as U.S. jobless claims unexpectedly dropped and Japan’s upper house prepares to vote on Haruhiko Kuroda’s nomination as central bank governor.

American Depositary Receipts of Komatsu Ltd., a machinery maker that gets a quarter of sales in the Americas, advanced 0.8 percent. ADRs of Hitachi Ltd., the manufacturer that ended 56 years of making TVs last year, rose 0.5 percent after forecasting a 25 increase in its full-year dividend. Aurora Oil & Gas Ltd. climbed 2.5 percent in Sydney as JPMorgan Chase & Co. upgraded its rating on the shares.

Nikkei 225 Stock Average futures expiring in June closed at 12,375 in Chicago yesterday, up from 12,330 at the close in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 12,360 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.6 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.3 percent.

The U.S. jobs report “is a further sign of a strengthening recovery,” said Matthew Sherwood, head of investment markets research in Sydney at Perpetual Investments, which manages about $25 billion. “Growing optimism about the U.S. economy pushes markets up, even though concerns about China continue to linger.”

Relative Value

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index, the benchmark regional equities gauge, slid 0.2 percent this week though yesterday, with Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong falling after the nation’s central bank chief said he’s on “high alert” for inflation.

The MSCI Asia Pacific index traded at 14.8 times average estimated earnings yesterday compared with 14.1 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12.9 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index were little changed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average yesterday extended the longest rally since 1996 as Labor Department data showed the number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits dropped last week to the lowest level in almost two months.

Japan’s lower house of parliament, which is dominated by the ruling coalition, yesterday approved Kuroda for Bank of Japan governor and Kikuo Iwata and Hiroshi Nakaso for deputy governor posts. The nominees face a vote today in the upper house, where Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party lacks a majority.

The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. climbed 0.6 percent in New York yesterday.

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