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

Japanese stock futures and Australian shares rose after a better-than-estimated jump in U.S. jobs and as the Federal Reserve said the world’s largest economy is growing, adding to investor optimism in the global recovery.

American Depositary Receipts of Nissan Motor Co., which gets 80 percent of its sales outside Japan, gained 1.6 percent. ADRs of Trend Micro Inc. advanced 3.4 percent after the maker of internet security software said it will buy back as much as 3 billion yen ($32 million) of its shares. BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, gained 0.5 percent in Sydney, leading a rally among firms with profits closely tied to economic growth.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring this month closed at 12,075 in Chicago yesterday, up from 11,870 at the close in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 12,000 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 0.7 percent.

“We’re in a sweet spot for equities with lots of corporates in a much more solid position,” said James Lindsay, Auckland-based fund manager at Tyndall Investment Management Ltd., which oversees about $23 billion. “Data releases in the U.S. have been more positive.”

American companies added 198,000 workers in February, according to a private report based on payrolls. The increase in employment followed a revised 215,000 gain in January, figures from the ADP Research Institute showed yesterday. The median forecast of 41 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for an extra 170,000 jobs.

Beige Book

The U.S. economy expanded at a modest pace across most of the country amid rising consumer demand for homes and autos, the Fed said in its Beige Book report, a summary and analysis of economic conditions in 12 U.S. districts.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index, the benchmark regional equities gauge, traded at 15 times average estimated earnings yesterday, compared with 13.9 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12.6 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose less than 0.1 percent. The S&P 500 gained 0.1 percent yesterday and the Dow Jones Industrial Average extended its record high after the jobs and Beige Book reports.

The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. dropped 0.1 percent in New York yesterday.