Bloomberg News

Australian Stocks, U.S. Futures Climb as Greece Approves Budget

February 12, 2012

Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Australian stocks and U.S. futures climbed after the Greek parliament approved austerity measures to secure a second bailout package, helping the nation to avoid a debt default.

JB Hi-Fi Ltd. rallied 3.3 percent in Sydney after the retailer reported better-than-estimated earnings. Transfield Services Ltd. climbed 2.3 percent after the company won a new contract in New Zealand. American depositary receipts of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Japan’s biggest lender, dropped 1.6 percent from the close in Tokyo.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose as much as 0.4 percent in early Sydney trading today, climbing for the first time in three sessions, while futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index advanced 0.4 percent, rebounding from a 0.6 percent selloff on Feb. 10.

“Asia will follow the lead from the U.S. and Europe on Friday night, but with Greece’s austerity measures just being passed, it will counteract declines,” said Simon Bonouvrie, a Sydney-based portfolio manager who helps manage about $1 billion at Platypus Asset Management Ltd.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in March closed at 8,940 in Chicago on Feb. 10 compared with 8,970 in Osaka. They were bid in the pre-market at 8,930 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index lost 0.3 percent in Wellington.

Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos today won approval from parliament for austerity measures to secure an international bailout after at least 151 members of the chamber voted for the measure, according to a tally of votes. The roll- call voting in Athens took place as police battled rioters in Athens protesting the measures, including state jobs cuts.

Global Stocks

Global equities tumbled at the end of last week after George Karatzaferis, who heads one of the three parties supporting Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, said he wouldn’t support austerity measures required for a second bailout. He spoke hours after German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told lawmakers in Berlin that Greece was missing deficit targets.

The vote is tantamount to a vote on whether Greece wants to remain in the euro and is part of a fight to save the country, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos told parliament.

In China, Premier Wen Jiabao said the nation should take preemptive measures and start “fine-tuning” economic policies as early as in the first quarter, according to Xinhua News Agency. Economic conditions in January and the first quarter deserve attention, Wen told business executives last week in Beijing, the official news agency reported yesterday.

Chinese Equities

Chinese stocks in the U.S. slid on Feb. 10. as lower-than- expected lending and falling imports boosted concern the world’s second-largest economy is slowing. The Bloomberg China-US 55 Index of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. dropped 1.2 percent to 105.17 in New York.

The London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six industrial metals including copper and aluminum sank 3 percent on Feb. 10, the biggest selloff since Dec. 14. Crude oil for March delivery lost 1.2 percent to $98.67 a barrel in New York.

Stocks in the MSCI Asia Pacific Index are valued at 14 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 12.9 times for the S&P 500 and 10.8 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

--Editors: John McCluskey, Jason Clenfield

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Jones in Sydney at sjones35@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Gentle at ngentle2@bloomberg.net -0- Feb/12/2012 23:31 GMT


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