Bloomberg News

Japanese, Australian Stock Futures Fall Before U.S. Jobs Report

September 01, 2011

Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Japanese and Australian stock futures fell ahead of a report forecast to show the U.S. added fewer jobs in August, adding to signs the world’s largest economy is still struggling.

American depositary receipts of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., Japan’s second-biggest lender, dropped 1.6 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo after banks fell in the U.S. Those of Mitsubishi Corp., Japan’s largest trading company, slid 1 percent after commodity prices dropped. ADRs of BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s No. 1 mining company, retreated 1.3 percent after metal prices slipped.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in September closed at 8,995 in Chicago yesterday, down from 9,060 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 8,990 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 1.1 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index declined 0.4 percent in Wellington.

“As people cut their forecasts for the jobs data, it’s difficult for investors to take a position one way or the other,” said Juichi Wako, a senior strategist at Tokyo-based Nomura Holdings Inc.

Japan’s incoming Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda will name his cabinet today. Noda, 54, takes the reins of a country beset by economic contraction, burdened by the world’s largest debt and reeling from the March earthquake and nuclear disaster.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed today. In New York, the index dropped 1.2 percent yesterday, snapping a four-day advance, before a Labor Department report today that may show non-farm payrolls climbed by 68,000 in August after a 117,000 increase in July, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

Factory Output

Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Jan Hatzius cut his forecast for the employment gain to 25,000 from 50,000. Brian Jones, an economist at Societe Generale, lowered his prediction to an increase of 9,000 from 67,000.

U.S. stocks rose earlier yesterday after a report showed manufacturing unexpectedly expanded. The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index fell to 50.6 last month from 50.9 in July, beating the median economist projection of 48.5. A reading above 50 shows manufacturing is growing.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 8.9 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 4.2 percent drop by the S&P 500 and a 13 percent loss by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 12.3 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 12.1 times for the S&P 500 and 9.9 times for the Stoxx 600.

The Thomson Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of raw materials fell 0.6 percent yesterday. The London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six industrial metals including copper and aluminum dropped 1.3 percent.

--With assistance from Toshiro Hasegawa in Tokyo. Editor: John McCluskey.

To contact the reporter on this story: Yoshiaki Nohara in Tokyo at ynohara1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Gentle at ngentle2@bloomberg.net.


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