Japanese, Australian Stock Futures Decline Amid Growth Concern

Japanese and Australian stock futures fell, tracking declines in the U.S., as commodity prices retreated and some American companies missed earnings forecasts.

American Depositary Receipts of BHP Billiton Ltd. lost 3 percent from yesterday’s closing price Sydney as declining metals and oil prices weakened the earnings outlook for the world’s biggest mining company. Hitachi Ltd. may be among suppliers to Apple Inc. that are active today after audio-chip maker Cirrus Logic Inc. predicted that sales at the world’s second-largest company would miss estimates.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in June traded at 13,290 in Chicago yesterday, down from 13,400 at the close in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 13,260 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index retreated 0.7 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index fell 0.5 percent.

“Weak corporate earnings results and renewed concerns about the global economy saw traders switch to a risk-off mode,” said Matthew Sherwood, head of investment markets research in Sydney at Perpetual Investments, which manages about $25 billion.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed. The gauge yesterday dropped 1.4 percent amid disappointing results by companies from Bank of America Corp. to Textron Inc. U.S. stocks are poised for a “spring break” that will bring losses to investors as economic growth slows and corporate earnings weaken, according to Jonathan Golub at UBS AG.

U.S. Earnings

Of the 57 companies on the S&P 500 that have reported so far this season, 39 have beaten profit estimates and 29 have exceeded forecasts for sales, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Morgan Stanley, previously the most bullish brokerage on Japanese stocks, says the Topix Index will fall about 10 percent as investors await corporate earnings and progress on promised economic reforms. The gauge has surged 57 percent from Nov. 14, when elections were announced that brought Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to power on a platform of stimulus and trade liberalization to beat 15 years of deflation.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index, the benchmark regional equities gauge, yesterday traded at 13.8 times average estimated earnings compared with 14 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12.3 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The London Metal Exchange Index of industrial metals fell 2.3 percent and West Texas Intermediate crude oil dropped to a four-month low.

The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. dropped 2.4 percent in New York yesterday.

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