Asia Stock Futures Rise as Stocks Set for Best Week Since April

Asian stock futures rose, indicating the regional benchmark equities gauge will extend its biggest weekly advance since April, amid optimism central bank stimulus and improving economic growth in the U.S. will buoy equities.

American Depositary Receipts of Nissan Motor Co., a carmaker that gets about 80 percent of sales outside Japan, climbed 0.5 percent from the close of trading in Tokyo. ADRs of Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., the world’s largest cargo and freight carrier, advanced 0.3 percent. Those of BHP Billiton Ltd., the No. 1 global mining company, surged 2.5 percent from the close in Sydney as metals prices rose.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in September closed at 14,525 in Chicago, up from 14,470 at the close in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 14,570 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.8 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.4 percent. Futures on the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland Chinese companies trading in Hong Kong rose 0.4 percent.

“Monetary conditions are still very stimulatory and markets can get some comfort from that,” Chris Green, an Auckland-based strategist at First NZ Capital Ltd., a brokerage and wealth management firm, said by telephone. “Even though there is recognition that tapering is on the way, the market has got more confidence that it’s not touching the brakes, just easing off the accelerator. That will be supportive for equities for some time.”

Hong Kong

Futures contracts on Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index were little changed. The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. rose 4.1 percent in New York yesterday.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index, the benchmark regional equities gauge, advanced 8.1 percent through yesterday from a six-month low on June 25 as concern eased that the Federal Reserve’s signal to begin tapering its bond purchasing program this year will hamper equities. The gauge climbed 2.9 percent this week, the most since the last week of April.

The Fed has helped stoke a 32 percent advance in global stocks over the past three years and suppressed interest rates through its asset purchases aimed at bolstering the economy. After signaling in May that the program could be reduced as risks to the U.S. outlook abate, Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said July 10 that “highly accommodative” monetary policy was needed for the foreseeable future.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index traded at 13.3 times average estimated earnings yesterday compared with 15.2 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 13.2 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.1 percent today. The U.S. equities benchmark surged 1.4 percent to a record closing level yesterday as Bernanke backed sustained monetary stimulus.

The London Metal Exchange LMEX Index gained 1.9 percent yesterday.

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