Japanese Stock Futures Drop as Yen Strengthens Before China Data

Japanese stock futures fell, indicating the Nikkei 225 Stock Average may decline for a third day, as the yen strengthened against the dollar and investors await a report on Chinese manufacturing.

American Depositary Receipts of Sharp Corp., a television maker that gets more than 50 percent of its sales outside Japan, fell 2.6 percent as the rising currency curbed the earnings outlook for exporters. ADRs of BHP Billiton Ltd. dropped 0.9 percent as a drop in metals prices curbed the profit outlook at the world’s largest mining company.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in June traded at 13,840 in Chicago yesterday, down from 13,860 at the close in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 13,850 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.1 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index fell 0.1 percent.

“There is little doubt that risks to global economic growth for 2013 are tilted to the downside,” said Matthew Sherwood, Sydney-based head of investment market research at Perpetual Ltd., which manages about $25 billion. “Earnings growth after several years of very subdued performance still seems a bit of a stretch.”

Markets in China, Hong Kong, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines are closed today for holidays. The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. climbed 1 percent in New York yesterday.

A gauge of China Purchasing Manufacturing Index is forecast to slow in April when the report is released in Beijing today.

Fed Meeting

The Federal Reserve may consider maintaining its bond-buying program at a two-day meeting concluding today, after a report last week showed the world’s largest economy grew less than forecast in the first quarter.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index, the benchmark regional equities gauge, climbed 9.9 percent this year through yesterday amid optimism Japan will deploy more measures to beat deflation and that policy makers in the U.S. and China remain on standby to support growth. That left the gauge yesterday trading at 14.3 times average estimated earnings compared with 14.5 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12.9 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index rose less than 0.1 percent. The gauge yesterday closed at a record as consumer confidence gained and investors bet central banks worldwide will continue their efforts to stimulate the economy.

The yen rose 0.1 percent to 97.38 per dollar as of 8:11 a.m. in Tokyo, a fifth day of gains.

The London Metal Exchange Index of industrial metals lost 1.4 percent yesterday.

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