Bloomberg News

Japanese Stock Futures Rise on U.S. Employment, Housing Data

February 24, 2012

Feb. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Japanese stock futures advanced after better-than-estimated U.S. jobs and housing data fueled confidence that the world’s largest economy is recovering, boosting demand for riskier assets.

American depositary receipts of Sony Corp., Japan’s No. 1 exporter of consumer electronics, rose 0.2 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo. ADRs of Sega Sammy Holdings Inc., a Japanese maker of video-game machines, fell 0.9 percent after agreeing to buy Phoenix Resort K.K. from RHJ International SA for 400 million yen ($5 million) in cash.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in March closed at 9,600 in Chicago yesterday, up from 9,570 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 9,590 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was little changed today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index fell 0.1 percent in Wellington.

“If you can get better data on employment and housing, I think investors will be comfortable the recovery in the U.S. this time around has a better chance of surviving and thriving,” said Prasad Patkar, who helps manage about $1 billion at Platypus Asset Management Ltd. in Sydney. “Improved risk appetite and improving economic fundamentals will create a catalyst that’s been lacking despite attractive valuations across a number of risk assets.”

Jobs, Housing Data

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.1 percent today. The index added 0.4 percent in New York yesterday, when applications for initial unemployment benefits in the U.S. held at 351,000 last week, the fewest since March 2008. Another reported showed a gauge of housing prices advanced 0.7 percent in December, beating projections.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 12 percent this year through yesterday, compared with an 8.4 percent increase by the S&P 500 and an 8 percent advance by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 14.7 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.1 times for the S&P 500 and 11 times for the Stoxx 600.

Trina Solar Ltd. led declines in Chinese solar stocks traded in the U.S. as the company reported a larger-than- expected net loss and as Germany plans to cut subsidies for the industry, dimming the outlook for sales. The Bloomberg China-US 55 Index of the most-traded Chinese stocks in the U.S. fell 0.3 percent.

The London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six industrial metals including copper and aluminum fell 0.4 percent yesterday. Crude oil for April delivery gained 1.5 percent to $107.83 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement since May 4.

--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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