Japan, Australia Stock Futures Rise as U.S. Home Building Jumps

Japanese and Australian stock futures rose as new home construction in the U.S. jumped more than forecast, boosting optimism in the global economic recovery.

American Depositary Receipts of Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s largest carmaker, advanced 0.8 percent as the yen weakened. Shares of Tokyo Electron Ltd. may be active among companies that supply to Intel Corp. after the world’s No. 1 semiconductor maker forecast second-quarter sales that would exceed some analysts’ estimates. ADRs of Woodside Petroleum Ltd., Australia’s second-biggest oil producer, rose 0.3 percent as the price of crude gained.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in June traded at 13,340 in Chicago yesterday, up from 13,310 at the close in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 13,330 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.7 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.6 percent.

“The U.S. economy is due to reaccelerate,” said Praveen Singh, a Bangalore-based strategist at Societe Generale SA, France’s second-largest bank. We recommend you “switch out of U.S. equities and into markets where monetary policy remains expansionary, such as Japan.”

Investors are the most bullish on Japanese stocks for more than six years, while they are selling euro-area equities amid renewed concern about the region’s debt crisis, a Bank of America Corp. survey of global money managers who oversee about $578 billion showed yesterday.

BOJ Stimulus

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index, the benchmark regional equities gauge, gained 5.5 percent this year through yesterday amid signs the U.S. economy is recovering and as Japanese equities rallied on speculation the Bank of Japan will step up efforts to stimulate its economy. That left the gauge trading yesterday at 14.3 times average estimated earnings compared with 14.2 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12.5 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.2 percent. The measure climbed 1.4 percent yesterday, rebounding from its biggest drop since November, as housing starts and earnings from Coca-Cola Co. to Johnson & Johnson topped estimates.

New-home construction in the U.S. jumped more than forecast in March, according to Commerce Department figures. Another report showed the cost of living declined in March for the first time in four months as cheaper gasoline and clothing kept inflation in check. Factory production unexpectedly dropped, adding to recent signs that manufacturing is cooling.

The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. climbed 1.8 percent in New York yesterday.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose 0.3 percent and the yen fell 0.1 percent to 99.66 per dollar.

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