Bloomberg News

Japanese, Australian Stock Futures Fall as U.S. Jobs Stagnate

September 04, 2011

Sept. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Japanese and Australian stock futures fell after a report showing U.S. employment stagnated stoked concern the world’s biggest economy may slip into a recession, damping the earnings outlook for Asian exporters.

American depositary receipts of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Japan’s largest lender, dropped 2.8 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo. Those of Toyota Motor Corp., the biggest global carmaker that gets 28 percent of its sales in North America, dropped 1.6 percent. ADRs of BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company and Australia’s No. 1 oil producer, retreated 0.9 percent after metal prices slipped.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in September closed at 8,825 in Chicago on Sept. 2, down from 8,940 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 8,810 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 1.5 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index fell 0.7 percent in Wellington.

“People didn’t expect an increase in U.S. jobs would come to a halt, which was a negative surprise,” said Toshiyuki Kanayama, a market analyst at Tokyo-based Monex Inc. “Export- related stocks are likely to be sold as the yen rises against the euro. Financial and commodity equities should also fall, following the U.S. market.”

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index declined 0.5 percent today. In New York, the index fell 2.5 percent to 1,173.97 on Sept. 2 after a report showed U.S. payrolls were unchanged in August, the weakest reading since September 2010. The median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey called for an increase of 68,000. U.S. markets will be closed today for a public holiday.

Bernanke Speech

The S&P 500 slid as much as 18 percent from a three-year high on April 29 amid concern the U.S. economy was weakening. Stocks rebounded at the end of August as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said in an Aug. 26 speech in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, that the central bank has tools to stimulate growth without signaling he will use them. He echoed comments from dissenting members of the Federal Open Market Committee who said economic reports aren’t pointing to a recession.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 9.8 percent this year through Sept. 2, compared with a 6.7 percent drop by the S&P 500 and a 15.5 percent loss by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 12.2 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 11.7 times for the S&P 500 and 9.7 times for the Stoxx 600.

The yen touched 108.76 per euro today, the strongest level since Aug. 12, before trading at 108.81. The London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six industrial metals including copper and aluminum fell 1 percent on Sept. 2.

--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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