Australian Stock Futures Fall as U.S. Leading Indicators Drop

Australian stock futures fell and Japanese futures were little changed, with benchmark gauges in both countries heading for weekly declines, after an index of leading U.S. economic indicators unexpectedly dropped.

American Depositary Receipts of Nissan Motor Co. retreated 0.5 percent from the close of trading in Tokyo. ADRs of Westpac Banking Corp., Australia’s second-largest lender by market value, slid 0.6 percent. ADRs of BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company, advanced 1.4 percent as metals prices rebounded.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in June traded at 13,280 in Chicago yesterday, compared with 13,270 at the close in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 13,290 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index retreated 0.2 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index fell 0.5 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 2 percent this week though yesterday and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 1.8 percent.

“An incremental U.S. soft patch is inevitable,” said Michael Kurtz, Hong Kong-based head of global equity strategy at Nomura Holdings Inc., Japan’s largest brokerage. “Risks to both the U.S. consumer outlook and to the China outlook are quite real.”

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index, the benchmark regional equities gauge, this week pared five months of gains amid concern economic growth in the U.S. and China may slow. The gauge advanced 5 percent this year through yesterday, led by Japanese shares, amid optimism the Bank of Japan will step up efforts to stimulate the economy.

Relative Value

That left the gauge yesterday trading at 13.7 times average estimated earnings compared with 13.9 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12.3 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.3 percent. The gauge yesterday fell 0.7 percent as earnings from UnitedHealth Group Inc. to EBay Inc. disappointed investors, a measure of manufacturing in the Philadelphia region expanded at a slower pace and the Conference Board’s index of U.S. leading economic indicators unexpectedly declined for the first time in seven months.

The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. climbed 0.2 percent in New York yesterday.

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