Japanese, Australian Stock Futures Advance on U.S. Retail Sales

Japanese and Australian stock futures rose after a report showed U.S. retail sales unexpectedly advanced in April, buoying the earnings outlook for Asian exporters.

American Depositary Receipts of Toyota Motor Corp., a Japanese carmaker that gets 75 percent of its revenue overseas, rose 1.1 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo. Those of Nomura Holdings Inc., Japan’s biggest brokerage by market value, gained 1.3 percent after its shares surged yesterday to the highest level since 2008. ADRs of BHP Billiton Ltd., Australia’s biggest oil producer, fell 0.7 percent after crude slid for a third day.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in June closed at 14,870 in Chicago yesterday compared with 14,820 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 14,850 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. The Nikkei has been the top-performing major equity gauge since mid-November, surging more than 70 percent amid unprecedented monetary easing from the Bank of Japan. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.3 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index was little changed.

The U.S. retail sales report “indicates that perhaps sequester spending cuts haven’t had a bigger impact on the underlying economy than expected and that’s a good thing,” said Stephen Halmarick, Sydney-based head of investment markets research at Colonial First State Global Asset Management, which oversees about $150 billion. “BOJ quantitative easing is still going to have a big impact on Japanese markets, driving equities higher and potentially driving bond yields higher.”

Retail Sales

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose less that 0.1 percent today. The index was little changed in New York yesterday even after Commerce Department figures showed U.S. retail sales rose 0.1 percent last month after a revised 0.5 percent decline in March. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 0.3 percent drop.

Futures on Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index were little changed and contracts on the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland companies trading in Hong Kong added 0.1 percent.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 10 percent this year through yesterday compared with a 15 percent advance by the S&P 500 and an 8.9 percent gain by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

West Texas Intermediate oil for June delivery fell 87 cents to settle at $95.17 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese stocks in the U.S. dropped 1.4 percent yesterday in New York, the biggest decline in three weeks.

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