Japanese stock futures fell as 78 percent of companies listed in the nation’s Topix index prepare to go ex-dividend today and after U.S. data on consumer confidence and property values failed to encourage investors. Australian equities were little changed.
American depositary receipts of Mizuho Financial Group Inc. (8411), Japan’s third-largest bank by market value, fell 4 percent from the closing share prices in Tokyo. ADRs of Sharp Corp. (6753), a Japanese electronics maker, jumped 15 percent as it gets a 133 billion yen ($1.6 billion) investment from Foxconn Technology Group and founder Terry Gou. James Hardie Industries SE (JHX), an Australian building-materials supplier that gets almost 70 percent of sales from the U.S., rose 0.5 percent in Sydney.
Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in June closed at 10,130 in Chicago yesterday, down from 10,180 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 10,140 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was little changed in Sydney today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index gained less than 0.1 percent in Wellington.
“In terms of reassessing the outlook over the next quarter or so, people will probably sit on the sidelines,” said Tim Schroeders, who helps manage $1 billion in equities at Pengana Capital Ltd. in Melbourne. “The Asian region is probably going to need its own catalyst because U.S. data overnight were mixed, and as a result we are in a consolidation phase after markets put on some pretty gains, particularly in Japan.”
Mizuho Financial is among 1,307 of the 1,666 companies listed in the Topix index that are set to go ex-dividend today, meaning investors who buy their shares today can no longer get dividends for the fiscal year ending this week.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) yesterday erased losses since the country’s record earthquake as the declining yen and $241 billion of reconstruction spending helped make it the best- performing benchmark index in the developed world this year.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPXL1) were little changed today. The index dropped 0.3 percent in New York yesterday after the Conference Board’s confidence index dropped to 70.2 from a revised 71.6 reading in February. The S&P/Case- Shiller index of property values in 20 cities fell 3.8 percent from a year earlier, after decreasing 4.1 percent in December.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) added 12 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 12 percent gain by the S&P 500 and a 9.2 percent increase by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 15 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.5 times for the S&P 500 and 11.2 times for the Stoxx 600.
Solar stocks led a decline in Chinese shares traded in New York on speculation that Italy will follow Germany in cutting subsidies to the industry, dimming the outlook for global installations. The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most- traded Chinese shares in the U.S. lost 0.3 percent to 105.42 yesterday, falling for the first time in three days.
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