Bloomberg News

Japan Stock Futures, Australian Shares Rise on Europe Optimism

January 12, 2012

Jan. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Japanese stock futures and Australian equities rose after Italian and Spanish borrowing costs fell following debt auctions, adding to optimism the European Central Bank’s cash injection is averting a credit crunch in financial markets.

American depositary receipts of Honda Motor Co., Japan’s second-largest carmaker by market value, rose 0.9 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo. Those of Mizuho Financial Group Inc., Japan’s third-biggest bank by market value, gained 0.3 percent. BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s No. 1 miner by market value, advanced 1.5 percent in Sydney after metal prices increased for a fifth day.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in March closed at 8,410 in Chicago yesterday, up from 8,380 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 8,410 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.5 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index gained 0.2 percent in Wellington.

Once concern about Europe’s debt crisis is “lifted at least in the short-term, we should see some good performance in Asian equity markets,” said Diane Lin, a fund manager with Sydney-based fund Pengana Capital Ltd., which manages about $1.1 billion in global assets. ECB policy makers “have stabilized the whole situation. There’s a lot of bonds to be issued by European governments in the short-term. It is important for them to be able to refinance all those papers.”

Economic Stabilization

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed today. The index added 0.2 percent in New York yesterday after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said there were signs of stabilization in economic activity.

Spanish two-year rates fell to the least since March after the nation raised 9.98 billion euros ($12.8 billion) from a note auction, twice the maximum target. Italy’s two-year yields fell to the lowest since September as the nation sold 12-month bills at a yield of 2.735 percent, down from 5.952 percent at the previous auction.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 2 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 3 percent gain by the S&P 500 and a 2 percent increase by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 12.2 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 12.3 times for the S&P 500 and 10 times for the Stoxx 600.

Chinese stocks traded in the U.S. fell for a second day, led by solar companies, after a report showed inflation in 2011 exceeded the government’s target, lowering the probability for further stimulating measures to spur growth. The Bloomberg China-US 55 Index also slid after the U.S. reported a higher- than-forecast increase in jobless claims. The benchmark gauge lost 0.3 percent to 100.32.

The London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six industrial metals including copper and aluminum rose 2.2 percent yesterday, its fifth straight daily gain.

--Editors: John McCluskey, Jason Clenfield

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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