Australia Stock Futures Rise as Investors Await China GDP Data

Australian stocks futures rose after better-than-estimated U.S. bank earnings and as investors await a report that is forecast to show China’s economy slowed in the second quarter.

American Depositary Receipts of BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, gained 0.3 percent from the closing price in Sydney. ADRs of Woodside Petroleum Ltd., Australia’s second-biggest energy producer, advanced 0.4 percent. Those of Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., the world’s largest cargo and freight carrier, sank 1.2 percent from the close in Hong Kong.

Futures Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.3 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index was little changed. Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained less than 0.1 percent and contracts on Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index were little changed. Japanese equity markets are closed for a holiday.

“The U.S. reporting season has taken on a particular importance as companies attempt to prove that their recent rise in share prices is backed by earnings fundamentals,” Matthew Sherwood, head of investment market research at Perpetual Ltd., which oversees $25 billion in Sydney, said by e-mail. “Concerns continue to mount about the growth outlook for China. U.S. growth remains modest and with China slowing and European problems resurfacing, there is likely to be sizable headwinds for investors in the second half of this year.”

Regional Index

The MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index advanced 2.8 percent last week, paring this year’s loss to 5.8 percent, as China’s money-market rates surged to a record and after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said policy makers may start reducing stimulus if the U.S. economy shows sustained improvement.

That left the gauge trading at 11.9 times average estimated earnings 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 contracts on the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland Chinese companies trading in Hong Kong retreated 0.1 percent. The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. dropped 1.4 percent in New York on July 12.

China’s economy, the world’s second-largest, probably expanded 7.5 percent in the three months to June 30, according to the median of 45 estimates surveyed before data due today, after growth slowed to 7.7 percent in the first quarter. The Shanghai Composite Index of mainland-listed companies has dropped 10 percent this year.

The S&P 500 climbed 0.3 percent to a record 1,680.19 at the close July 12. Financial stocks rose the most of the 10 industry groups on the S&P 500 after Wells Fargo & Co. reported earnings that topped analysts’ estimates.

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