Asian Stock Futures Climb as Yen Weakens Before Fed Meeting Ends

Stock futures in Japan, Hong Kong and Australia climbed as the yen weakened and as investors awaited the outcome of a Federal Reserve policy meeting for clues to the U.S. central bank’s plan for stimulus.

American Depositary Receipts of Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s largest carmaker, climbed 0.6 percent as the yen declined against the dollar, boosting the earnings outlook for Japanese exporters. ADRs of BHP Billiton Ltd., the biggest mining company, rose 1 percent as metals prices gained.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in September closed at 13,210 in Chicago yesterday, up from 13,000 at the close in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 13,250 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.7 percent and those on Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.1 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index fell 0.2 percent.

“It’s all about the Fed meeting tonight,” said Peter Esho, investment adviser in Sydney at Wilson HTM Investment Group, which manages about $11.8 billion. “Everyone’s waiting for the direction they will give.”

Futures on the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland Chinese companies trading in Hong Kong retreated 0.3 percent. The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. climbed 0.5 percent in New York yesterday.

Bernanke Comments

More than $2 trillion has been wiped from global markets since May 22 when Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke signaled that the central bank’s asset-buying program could be scaled back. He will speak to reporters after the conclusion of Fed’s two-day policy meeting today.

The Fed’s easing program has helped drive a 16 percent advance in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index this year, and the gauge has risen 144 percent from its bear-market low reached in 2009 amid four straight years of earnings growth. Japan’s Topix index has risen 26 percent in 2013 while the MSCI Asia Pacific Index, the regional benchmark gauge, is up 1.8 percent.

That left the MSCI Asia Pacific yesterday trading at 12.7 times average estimated earnings compared with 15 for the S&P 500 Index and 13 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index rose 0.1 percent. The gauge climbed 0.8 percent yesterday to its highest level this month as investors awaited the outcome of the Fed meeting.

The yen slid 0.2 percent to 95.52 per dollar as of 7:53 a.m. in Tokyo.

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