Japanese, Hong Kong Stock Futures Rise on U.S. Economic Data

Japanese and Hong Kong stock futures rose after data showed U.S. consumer confidence climbed to the highest level since 2008 and home values jumped the most in seven years, boosting the outlook for exporters.

American Depositary Receipts of Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s largest carmaker, gained 1.4 percent after the yen weakened from the close of equity markets in Japan. ADRs of Nissan Motor Co., a carmaker that gets 79 percent of its revenue abroad, added 1.7 percent. Those of Sony Corp. advanced 1.7 percent as Citigroup Inc. increased by 29 percent its price estimate on shares of Japan’s biggest TV maker.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring next month traded at 14,410 in Chicago yesterday, up from 14,360 at the close in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 14,420 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time before Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda addresses a conference this morning. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index were little changed and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.4 percent.

“An improving U.S. economy should support earnings and valuations,” said Johannes Jooste, who helps oversee more than $1.76 trillion as a market strategist at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management in London. “Although BOJ governor Kuroda has signaled no extension to his monetary stimulus package, loose Japanese monetary policy should remain a bolster for local liquidity.”

Japan’s Topix index, the broadest equity gauge, added 1.2 percent to close yesterday at 1,168.27 after falling as much as 1.2 percent. Even after a 9.6 percent drop in the previous three days, Japan’s broadest equities gauge is still up 36 percent this year.

Hong Kong

Futures on Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.4 percent and contracts on the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland Chinese companies trading in Hong Kong added 0.4 percent. The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. climbed 1.2 percent in New York yesterday.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index, the benchmark regional equities gauge, traded at 13.4 times average estimated earnings yesterday compared with 15.1 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 13.6 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed. The benchmark equity gauge rose 0.6 percent, bringing its advance this month to 3.9 percent, a seventh month of gains. That’s the longest winning streak since September 2009.

Consumer Confidence

U.S. consumer confidence climbed in May to the highest level in more than five years, a Conference Board report showed yesterday. The index rose to 76.2, the strongest since February 2008 and exceeding the highest estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

Separate data showed that U.S. house prices rose in the 12 months through March by the most in seven years as the recovery in residential real estate gained momentum. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values increased 10.9 percent from March 2012, the biggest 12-month gain since April 2006, after advancing 9.4 percent in February.

The yen traded at 102.29 per dollar as of 7:39 a.m. in Tokyo, declining from 101.98 at the close of equity markets yesterday in Japan.

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