Japanese and Australian stock futures rose as the yen weakened and investors awaited China trade data and minutes of a Federal Reserve policy meeting.
American Depositary Receipts of Canon Inc., a camera maker that gets 80 percent of sales abroad, gained 1 percent. ADRs of BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, advanced 2.3 percent. Billabong International Ltd. may be active when it resumes trading today in Sydney after the surfwear maker said it will hold talks with a group led by Sycamore Partners Management over a A$287 million ($300 million) deal.
Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in June closed at 13,320 in Chicago yesterday, up from 13,190 at the close in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 13,320 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.2 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.2 percent.
Loose monetary “policy will remain in place for a considerable period of time as the Fed learned in 2010-11 what can happen when stimulus is withdrawn too early,” said Matthew Sherwood, head of investment markets research in Sydney at Perpetual Investments, which manages about $25 billion. “For the rally to have a new leg up, earnings need to be upgraded and this will be hard given global growth remains sub-trend.”
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index, the benchmark regional equities gauge, climbed the past five months on speculation Japan would unleash more stimulus and amid signs the U.S. economy is recovering. That left the measure trading at 13.7 times average estimated earnings yesterday compared with 14.2 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12.4 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Economic conditions in the world’s largest economy are far from where he would like them to be, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said April 8. The Federal Open Market Committee releases minutes of its March 19-20 meeting today. After that meeting, Bernanke said further gains in the U.S. labor market were needed for the Fed to consider reducing its monetary easing.
Futures on the S&P 500 Index were little changed. The gauge rose 0.4 percent yesterday and the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.4 percent to 14,673.46, its highest-ever closing level, on optimism over earnings and as commodities gained amid a report showing China’s inflation rate slowed.
The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. climbed 1.3 percent in New York yesterday. March figures for export and import growth are due to be released today at 10 a.m. in Beijing.
The London Metal Exchange Index of industrial metals rose 1.9 percent yesterday, the most in since Jan. 2.