Japanese stock futures advanced after the yen weakened, bolstering the earnings outlook for exporters. Mining companies led Australian equities lower after metal prices dropped.
American depositary receipts of Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), Asian’s biggest carmaker, added 0.2 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo. Toyota was rated “outperform” by Credit Suisse Group AG. Citizen Holdings Co. may be active after saying it will acquire Swiss watchmaker Prothor Holding SA. BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest miner, fell 2 percent in Sydney.
“With the yen slightly weaker, exporters may lead share buying, but their increases will probably be limited,” said Ryuta Otsuka, a strategist at Toyo Securities Co. in Tokyo. “The markets are likely to follow the currency and other Asian stock movements.”
Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) expiring in March closed at 9,720 in Chicago yesterday, compared with 9,680 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 9,690 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.5 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.4 percent in Wellington.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPXL1) slid 0.1 percent today. The gauge fell 0.4 percent in New York yesterday after China pared its economic growth target to 7.5 percent from an 8 percent goal in place since 2005. In the U.S., data on orders to factories signaled manufacturing is cooling. Bookings (TMNOCHNG) fell 1 percent in January after a revised 1.4 percent gain in December that was larger than previously estimated.
The yen depreciated to as low as 81.58 against the dollar today in Tokyo, compared with 81.28 at the close of stock trading yesterday. Against the euro, Japan’s currency weakened to 107.83 from 107.26. A weaker yen boosts overseas income at Japanese companies when repatriated.
Crude oil for April delivery rose 2 cents to settle at $106.72 a barrel yesterday in New York. Prices are up 8 percent this year.
The London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six industrial commodities including copper and aluminum lost 1.4 percent yesterday, the steepest slip since Feb. 10.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) gained 11.5 percent this year through yesterday, compared with an 8.5 percent advance by the S&P 500 and an 8.6 percent increase by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 14.8 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.1 times for the S&P 500 and 11.1 times for the Stoxx 600.
The Bloomberg China-US 55 Index (CH55BN) of the most-traded Chinese equities in the U.S sank 1.9 percent to 106.57 in New York yesterday, the most in two weeks, after the government pared the nation’s economic growth target.
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